I am a social worker and parent in Australia concerned about the western practice of a method called 'controlled crying' that is used on infants to get them to sleep. This blog talks about the use of this method and other parenting methods. Search all the information on this site to be better informed about the practice of controlled crying. For any comments or questions, my email is

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Guilt is often said to be synonymous with parenting. But should we feel guilt if we are happy and comfortable with all the choices we have made? If we are not comfortable with the choices we’ve made, then do we feel guilt? or is it more like regret? or perhaps even grief?
I think that when we make informed choices we don't feel guilty. I have received some negative comments about my parenting style but I don't feel guilty because of this, that’s because I'm happy with my decisions. Really, we can’t feel guilty for accepting the bad advice that our society offers us. Most Maternal and Child Health Nurses in Australia are told to encourage self-settling and this often involves advocating controlled crying. These professionals are meant to present all options for evidence based care, in a balanced and unbiased way, but sadly they often do not. Sometimes we are unaware there are other options other than controlled crying, and often we are raised by parents who have used it on us.

Guilt has been referred to as the ‘useless emotion’ (Hay, 1999) because there is nothing we can do about the past, we can only go forward. Here is a great quote from Pinky McKay;

“When we pussyfoot around about making women feel guilty, we are patronising them - how can anyone make an informed choice if information is deliberately withheld? In any other circumstances, if we deliberately withheld information, we would be considered dishonest or even negligent. When we are prescribed any medication or medical treatment, if we are sensible - we will ask, "what are the risks?" / "are there any side effects?" We expect to make informed choices, and give informed consent about health care.
Guilt is only legitimate if we have let another person down - if we haven't honestly done all that we could have or should have. And nobody can make us feel guilty without our permission. Feelings of guilt may be triggered by external factors -like a health professional telling us about the hazards of artificial feeding, as we are reaching for the bottle - but these are OUR feelings. This is our own internal value system at work. We each need to decide whether this guilt is legitimate or not - or whether it is in fact, guilt , or some other feeling - and how we will act on this feeling.
For the sake of the mother child relationship, we do need to help mothers differentiate between feelings of guilt, and unrealistic expectations of perfection. We can encourage mothers to examine their feelings - to ask them selves -

 "Where is this feeling coming from?"
 "Is this the best I can do for now? Or am I really letting my child down?"
 "What are my responsibilities?"
 "What can I change?"
 "Where can I find support?"

The positive thing about guilt is that we can act on it: If we feel guilty about the choices we are making, we can use these feelings to motivate us to make better choices. There is a vast difference between guilt and regret. We can act on guilt. The sad thing about regret is that it is too late. We don’t get another chance to go back and do it all differently with each baby”.

It is important to release feelings of guilt, regret and grief, in whatever way we can. But it is also important to see that we can’t go back, but we can make changes NOW. Some researchers believe that with more ‘natural parenting’ methods (holding baby as often as we can, co-sleeping and so on), we can even somewhat reverse the effect of controlled crying on our babies maturing brains.

We all have the right to be informed about our options and choices so we can make the best decisions that suit our family. The majority of parents wouldn’t know that there are possible risks in choosing CC as a method to settle their baby. This is why I have put together this blog, so that parents can have access to all the information about controlled crying. They can read this and then form their own opinion on the information, but it is not intended to make parents feel guilty.

As Jodie Miller says, “Parenting is not about being perfect. It's about gradually moving in a forward direction and doing the best [we] can with each new day. I know what I’ll definitely do different next time. Trial and error. Is there any other way?”

"Sleeping Like a Baby"

An excerpt from Pinky McKay's New Book!

Chapter one
The con of controlled crying

After a week of controlled crying he slept, but he stopped
talking (he was saying single words). For the past year, he
has refused all physical contact from me. If he hurts himself,
he goes to his older brother (a preschooler) for comfort.
I feel devastated that I have betrayed my child.


The ‘science’ of sleep training
Although many baby sleep trainers claim there is no
evidence of harm from practices such as controlled crying,
it is worth noting that there is a vast difference between
‘no evidence of harm’ and ‘evidence of no harm’. In fact, a
growing number of health professionals are now claiming
that training infants to sleep too deeply, too soon, is not
in babies’ best psychological or physiological interests.
Despite the popularity of controlled crying, it is not
an evidence-based practice. What this means is that despite a plethora
of opinions on how long you should leave your baby to cry in order to
train her to sleep, nobody has studied exactly how long it
is safe to leave a baby to cry, if at all.

Babies who are forced to sleep alone (or cry, because
many do not sleep) for hours may miss out on both adequate
nutrition and sensory stimulation such as touch,
which is as important as food for infant development.
Leaving a baby to ‘cry it out’ in order to enforce a strict
routine when the baby may, in fact, be hungry, is similar to
expecting an adult to adopt a strenuous exercise program
accompanied by a reduced food intake. The result of
expending energy through crying while being deprived
of food is likely to be weight loss and failure to thrive.
Paediatrician William Sears has claimed that ‘babies
who are “trained” not to express their needs may appear to
be docile, compliant or “good” babies. Yet, these babies
could be depressed babies who are shutting down the
expression of their needs.’

Leaving a baby to cry evokes physiological responses
that increase stress hormones. Crying infants experience
an increase in heart rate, body temperature and blood
pressure. These reactions are likely to result in overheating
and, along with vomiting due to extreme distress, could
pose a potential risk of SIDS in vulnerable infants.
There may also be longer-term emotional effects.
Babies need our help to learn how to regulate their emotions,
meaning that when we respond to and soothe their
cries, we help them understand that when they are upset,
they can calm down. On the other hand, when infants are
left alone to cry it out, they fail to develop the understanding
that they can regulate their own emotions. There is
also compelling evidence that increased levels of stress
hormones may cause permanent changes in the stress responses
of the infant’s developing brain. These changes
then affect memory, attention, and emotion, and can trigger
an elevated response to stress throughout life, including
a predisposition to later anxiety and depressive disorders.

One of the arguments for using controlled crying is
that it ‘works’, but perhaps the definition of success needs
to be examined more closely. In the small number of studies
undertaken, while most babies will indeed stop waking
when they are left to cry, ‘success’ varies from an extra
hour’s sleep each night to little difference between babies
who underwent sleep training and those who didn’t, eight
weeks later. Some studies found that up to one-third of
the babies who underwent controlled crying ‘failed sleep
school’. A recent Australian baby magazine survey revealed
that although 57 per cent of mothers who responded to the
survey had tried controlled crying, 27 per cent reported no
success, 27 per cent found it worked for one or two nights,
and only 8 per cent found that controlled crying worked
for longer than a week. To me, this suggests that even if
harsher regimes work initially, babies are likely to start
waking again as they reach new developmental stages
or conversely, they may become more settled and sleep
(without any intervention) as they reach appropriate developmental

Want to read more?

Pinky's fab new book is available from your local book store or via her website

Monday, July 17, 2006

Attachment Workshop Sydney, Australia

Two day workshop "Attachment and pathways to psychopathology: Growing up unprotected and uncomforted" to be presented by Dr Patricia Crittenden. Dr Patricia Crittenden is a well known attachment and developmental theorist. She studied under Mary D. Ainsworth and developed the Dynamic-maturation model of attachment. Her work focuses on foster children, children with mental health problems, and children at risk of abuse and neglect.The two day workshop will explore a developmental approach to risk for psychopathology tied to attachment relationships. Age appropriate assessments will be described and empirical evidence will be surveyed.The workshop will be held at Lorimer Dods Lecture Theatre - The Children's Hospital Westmead, Sydney, on February 26th and 27th 2007.

For further details on the workshop please contact:Andrea Caputo (02) 9845 2005

Early bird registrations to be received by 30th November 2006.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

"He won't remember it anyway!"

Maybe not......This is from my copy of Natural Parenting magazine,

New discoveries about early memory - and how it affects us
Issue 12 Spring 2005, by Robin Grille (AAIMHI)

Most of us have been told at one time or another that children don’t remember anything that happens to them before the age of two. Emotionally painful experiences during infancy will therefore have no lasting impact. These words might have been reassuring, if they didn’t also imply that our infants don’t remember the love we have given them, and so our love at this time has no lasting impact either. As science continues to throw open the mysteries of the brain and the nature of memory, this kind of advice will gradually vanish. Every emotionally meaningful experience - whether joyous or painful - is stored in memory and has a lasting impact on a baby’s developing nervous system. The way our world feels to us as babies profoundly influences our unfolding personality, emotionality and relating styles.

There are different kinds of “memory” beyond the stories we can recount. We actually “remember” a lot more than we realise.Within the limbic system of the brain - an area concerned with processing emotions - are the amygdala and hippocampus. The amygdala processes highly charged emotional memories, such as terror and horror. The hippocampus processes narrative, chronological memory. The amygdala is mature at birth, so babies are able to feel a range of intense emotion, even though they cannot understand the content of the emotion and its relation to what is going on around them. The hippocampus on the other hand, does not mature until sometime between the second and fourth years. Until then, babies are relatively unable to organise memory meaningfully in terms of sequences of events. Rarely does anybody consciously recall the events of infancy. However, the storage of the emotional content of memory is facilitated by the amygdala. We therefore remember every emotion and physical sensation from our earliest days, and even if we have no clarity about the events that took place, these memories imbue the way we relate to each other as adults.Just as memory can be divided up into the dual categories of short term and long term, there are also two qualities of memory: explicit and implicit. The capacity for explicit memory reaches full maturity at around three years of age. This is the kind of memory that is conscious and enables us to tell a story that makes sense of what happened. Implicit memory is available from birth or earlier, it is unconscious, and is encoded in emotional, sensory and visceral recall. In other words, what we don’t remember with our minds, we remember with our bodies, with our hearts and our “‘guts”. This has lasting implications for our thinking, feeling, and behaviour.The process of forgetting is more superficial than we once thought: it only rubs out conscious recall. Even as adults we are mercifully capable of deleting any record of traumatic events. If we are unlucky enough to face a situation of panic or terror which we feel helpless to escape, the brain secretes endogenous opioids in order to numb us to overwhelming emotional or physical pain. These brain chemicals also interfere with the storage of explicit memory, though implicit memory of the trauma remains available. Experiences that are emotionally too overwhelming to deal with are stored somatically, as a body memory. Thereafter they are expressed as an unconscious response to stress. When we over react to mildly stressful or even innocuous situations without knowing why, this might be the result of implicit, traumatic memories dating back to childhood or infancy.

The memory centres that govern narrative recall, emotional memory and body memory can operate independently of each other. Despite being in a coma, one man went into physiological anxiety states when exposed to a smell that was associated with a personal trauma. It is possible to have strong emotional reactions without conscious recall, even without consciousness! Another man whose damaged brain had lost all capacity for short term memory, still reacted aversively to specific doctors who had conducted unpleasant tests on him, without any recollection of having met them. A brain damaged woman who had also totally lost her short term memory refused to shake the hand of a doctor who had earlier hidden a sharp pin in his hand. She was bewildered by her own refusal, since as far as she was aware, each time she met him was the first. So, much of what we think, feel and do is induced by implicit memories “written” into muscle, sinew, fascia and viscera. Not one of our experiences is lost to us. Each experience, particularly those that are charged with emotion, adds to the complex mosaic of our personality.Our brain has an amazing capacity to make associations. Something or someone that “reminds” our brains of a traumatic situation - a smell, a song, a person that looks like someone from our past – triggers our automatic, self-protective “fight, flight or freeze” responses. This reflexive reaction occurs too quickly; before the information reaches the cortex where it can be evaluated rationally. That is why we sometimes over react to things, people or situations reminiscent of a traumatic event, without any conscious recollection of the event in question.There are occasions when implicit memory can be made explicit. Since implicit memory is “stored” in the body, repeating certain movements, gestures, breathing patterns, or assuming certain postures associated with highly charged emotional memories can bounce these memories into explicit, conscious awareness. It is as if the body releases its secrets to the mind. Many individuals have been able to retrieve traumatic memories, both from adult and infant experiences, when induced by strong emotions associated with the original experience. In certain states of consciousness, in psychotherapy or meditation, people have spontaneously recalled things that happened to them as babies. Many have remembered how it felt to be a baby, howling for a mother who would not come. In reconstructing a particular body posture, or talking about a similar emotionally charged event, the contextual memories of unbearable longing, rage or terror come back into focus. It is equally possible for sweet, joyous memories of a parents’ loving face to resurface. This phenomenon is called “state dependent memory retrieval”, and while it is not essential, it can bring healing under certain conditions.But even if not consciously remembered, early memories show themselves indirectly through behaviour. It is intrinsically human to reenact defensive reactions to forgotten traumas, though our reactions are no longer relevant. Often early memories become evident through persistent feelings that don’t seem to relate to a present situation, or through bodily sensations that don’t seem to make any sense. More commonly, these early memories of emotional pain or hurt are indirectly evident through persistent difficulties in relationships, particularly in intimate relations.Implicit memory, or body memory, explains why for instance, a woman who was molested as a child remains fearful of intimacy - at least with men that “remind” her of the perpetrator. A man fears being alone because it triggers an emotional memory of terror as he cried in the cot, and no-one came to comfort him. He has no recollection of the event, and all those around him find him likeable and congenial. He has no understanding about his compulsive avoidance of solitude. Though successful and functional, many people can be avoidant, clingy, or perhaps insensitive in relationships. These are just some of the problems of relationship that have their roots in hurts we felt at the advent of life. To some extent, most of us suffer from some behavioural manifestations of painful implicit memories.Unbeknownst to our “rational” minds, we sometimes respond mistakenly to current challenges as if they were the hurts we suffered originally. This dynamic holds true in our relationships with our children. There are many reasons why, for instance, we might find our children’s expressions of need aversive and overwhelming. Here is a common scenario: when a baby screams, our bodies react the same way as when our parents screamed at us as children, we are neurologically conditioned to escape or push away, rather than to respond with spontaneous compassion. Alternatively, our baby’s cry might trigger in our bodies an implicit memory of a time when our own cries, as infants, were not met with a loving response. Either way, our baby’s cries evoke our own painful memory, and so we seek refuge. We are all biologically capable of a wellspring of spontaneously loving responses toward our children and toward each other. Sometimes this love is blocked by automatic defensive reactions to unresolved, implicitly remembered hurts. We are not insensitive nor neglectful; we are wounded.When a child is reprimanded, an image of the scolder’s looks of disapproval gets stored in the lateral tegmental limbic area of the brain. The growing child and adult judge their own behaviour through the lens of these stored inner representations, which are imprinted as images charged with feelings of shame. These inner visual and auditory records of the shamer usually – but not always - operate beneath conscious awareness. The experience of parents setting healthy boundaries literally grows the child’s orbitofrontal brain, whose purpose it is to contain and regulate raw emotion. When the parent imposes limits, for some time following the symbiotic time of infancy, the toddler feels a degree of hurt and betrayal. This developmentally necessary change in the parent child relationship is emotionally stressful. It is important that the parent soothe the toddler after imposing restrictions on him, to help him cope with his “shame stress”. Reassurance of the parent’s love repairs the child’s wounded “self” and restores his self-confidence. If parents diligently assist with their child’s shame repair, he soon learns to take over, and based on his parents’ role modelling, repair his own shame when needed. Inner representations - stored as emotional and narrative memory in the brain - of a soothing and reassuring parent are used later in life as a template for shame repair. This internal portrait of a reassuring adult is essential so that as an adult the individual won’t be disabled or overly inhibited by experiences of shame. Though this process is usually unconscious, it secures our ability to self soothe, and to recover from shame when needed.Psychological and social problems arise when a child grows up with too many images of a disapproving face stored in the brain centres that store implicit memory, without the subsequent images of a soothing and reassuring adult. A child that lacks these positive images, stored in his emotional memory centres, is at risk of slipping into depression, becoming overly inhibited, or defensively hostile.From the earliest moments of life, parental nurturance shapes the child’s emotional make up, literally altering the course of brain growth. One of the key elements of secure parent child attachment is affectionate eye contact. A parent’s sustained, loving gaze and smile suffuses infants with indescribable joy. What ensues is a cascade of dopamine, endogenous opioids, enkephalins and endorphins in the baby’s brain - all feel good chemicals associated with loving relations. This joy precipitated surge of brain chemicals promotes the maturation of precise regions of the cortex, which are concerned with healthy regulation of emotion later in life. Every baby requires this kind of nourishing experience regularly and frequently, for healthy brain development.By the end of the first year, the infant has stored an internal representation of her mother’s loving face in the area connecting the anterior temporal and the orbitofrontal cortices. These images, though rarely consciously remembered, form the basis for an internal working model of relationships. It is as if the child has filed a video clip of her mother in her brain’s “hard disk”. Henceforth, these inner representations will animate her core emotional responses, forming the basis of her fundamental relationship style. When she feels her emotional needs are consistently attended to, this engenders in the child an enduring expectation of a supportive world. This attitude is pervasive and unconscious, and it inclines the child toward friendly and considerate behaviour.Just as we might not remember learning to walk, yet our legs and feet seem to play their parts perfectly, some of our most pivotal lessons in human relations were learnt at a time that our bodies, but not our minds, can remember. The greatest gift in these discoveries is the knowledge that every loving moment we share with our children, from the very beginning, will stay with them for life.

A full list of references for this article are available by contacting Robin Grille.
Issue 12 Spring 2005, Emotional Wellbeing, Attachment Parenting

You can read the article here at Natural Parenting and can subscribe for a small fee;[tt_news]=82&tx_ttnews[backPid]=155&cHash=a2b86cb64b

I know people who can remember things from when they were babies, things their parents never told them. I also know new research has revealed babies remember music tunes played to them in the womb, so it seems that babies may well remember early experiences.

A Baby Cries: How Should Parents Respond?

by Jan Hunt, M.Sc.

Imagine for a moment that you have been abducted by space ship to a distant planet, and you are surrounded by giant strangers whose language you do not speak. Two of those strangers take you under their care. You are entirely dependent on them for the satisfaction of all your needs - hunger, thirst, comfort, and - especially - reassurance that you are safe in this strange place. Then imagine that something is very wrong - you are in pain, or terribly thirsty, or in need of emotional support. But your two attendants ignore your cries of distress, and you are unable to get them to help you or to understand your needs. Now you have another problem, more serious than the first: you feel completely helpless and alone in an alien world.
In all innocence, a baby assumes that we, as his parents, are correct - that whatever we do is what we ought to be doing. If we do nothing, the baby can only conclude that he is unloved because he is unlovable. It is not within his capabilities to conclude that we are only busy, distracted, worried, misled by "experts", or simply inexperienced as parents. No matter how deeply we love our baby, it is mostly the outward manifestations of that love that the baby can understand.
No one likes to have his communication ignored. and if it is, this brings on feelings of helplessness and anger that inevitably damage the relationship. Such a response seems to be one that is universally experienced by adults, and there is no reason to conclude that it is any different for babies and children. Few people would ignore an adult while he repeatedly said, "Can you help me? I'm not feeling right." Ignoring such a request would be considered most unkind. But a baby cannot make such a statement; he can only cry and cry until someone responds - or until he gives up in despair.
Immediate response to a baby's cry went unquestioned for thousands of years until recent times. In our culture, we assume that crying is normal and unavoidable for babies. Yet in natural societies where babies are carried close to the care-giver much of the day and night for the first several months, such crying is rare. In contrast to what many in our society would expect, babies cared for in this way show self-sufficiency sooner than do babies not receiving such care.
In fact, research on early childhood experiences consistently shows that children who have enjoyed the most loving care in infancy become the most secure and loving adults, while those babies who have been forced into submissive behavior build up feelings of resentment and anger that may well be expressed later in harmful ways.
In spite of this research, most arguments for ignoring crying are based on fears of "spoiling" the baby. A typical baby-care brochure advises the parent to "let the baby handle it for a while". Though infancy can be a challenging time for the parents, a baby is simply too young and inexperienced to "handle" the cause of the crying, whatever it may be. He cannot feed himself, change himself, or comfort himself in the way that nature intended. Clearly, it is the parents' responsibility to meet their baby's needs for nurturing, security, and love, not the baby's responsibility to meet his parents' need for peace and solitude.
The pamphlet implies that if the parents give their baby an opportunity to become self-reliant, they are helping him to mature. But an infant is simply not capable of such maturity. True maturity reflects a strong foundation of emotional security that can only come about from the love and support of those closest to him during the earliest years.
An immature person can only respond to stress in an immature way. A baby denied his birthright of comforting from his parents may respond by turning to ineffective self-stimulation (head-banging, rhythmic rocking, thumb-sucking, etc.) and emotional withdrawal from others. If his needs are routinely ignored, he may decide that loneliness and despair are preferable to risking further disappointment and rejection. Unfortunately, this decision, once made, can become a permanent outlook on life, leading to an emotionally impoverished life.
Many child-care professionals feel that parental encouragement of self-satisfiers and over-substitution of material objects - teddy bears substituting for parents, strollers for arms, cribs for shared sleep, pacifiers for nursing, toys for parents' attention, music boxes for voices, formula for breast-milk, wind-up swings for laps - have led to an age of materialistic acquisition, personal loneliness and lack of emotional fulfillment.
Ignoring a baby's crying is like using earplugs to stop the distressing noise of a smoke detector. The sound of a smoke detector is meant to alert us to a serious matter that requires a response - and so is the cry of a baby. As Jean Liedloff wrote in The Continuum Concept, "a baby's cry is precisely as serious as it sounds."
Stressful though it may be, infant crying should be seen not as a power struggle between parent and child, but as a gift of nature to ensure that all babies can grow to adulthood with a generous capacity for love and trust.
The Natural Child Project

Ten Reasons to Respond to a Crying Child
By Jan Hunt, M.Sc.

1. A baby's first attempts to communicate cannot be in words, but can only be nonverbal. She cannot put happy feelings into words, but she can smile. She cannot put sad or angry feelings into words, but she can cry. If her smiles receive a response, but crying is ignored, she can receive the harmful message that she is loved and cared for only when she is happy. Children who continue to get this message through the years cannot feel truly loved and accepted.
2. If a child's attempts to communicate sadness or anger are routinely ignored, he cannot learn how to express those feelings in words. Crying must receive an appropriate and positive response so that the child sees that all of his feelings are accepted. If his feelings are not accepted, and crying is ignored or punished, he receives the message that sadness and anger are unacceptable, no matter how they are expressed. It is impossible for a child to understand that expression of sadness or anger might be accepted in appropriate words once he is older and able to use those words. A child can only communicate in ways available to him at a given time; a child can only accomplish what he has had a chance to learn. Every child is doing his best, according to his age, experience, and present circumstances. It is surely unfair to punish a child for not doing more than he can do.
3. A child who has been given the message that her parents will only respond to her when she is "good" will begin to hide "bad" behavior and "bad" feelings from others, and even from herself. She may become an adult who submerges "bad" emotions and is unable to communicate the full range of human feelings. Indeed, there are many adults who find it difficult to express anger, sadness, or other "bad" feelings in an appropriate way.
4. Anger that cannot be expressed in early childhood does not simply disappear. It becomes repressed and builds up over the years, until the child is unable to contain it any longer, and is old enough to have lost his fear of physical punishment. When this container of anger is finally thrown open, the parents can be shocked and perplexed. They have forgotten the hundreds or thousands of moments of frustration which have been filling this container over the years. The psychological principle that "frustration leads to aggression" is never more clearly seen than in the final rebellion of a teenager. Parents should be helped to understand how frustrating it can be for a child to feel "invisible" when crying is ignored, or to feel helpless and discouraged when his attempts to express his needs and feelings are ignored or punished.
5. We are all born knowing that each and every feeling we have is legitimate. We gradually lose that belief if only our "good" side brings a positive response. This is a tragedy, because it is only when we fully accept ourselves and others, regardless of mistakes, that we can have truly loving relationships. If we are not fully loved and accepted in childhood, we may never learn how that feels or how to communicate that acceptance to others, no matter how much therapy or reading or thinking we may do. How much easier our lives would be if we had simply received unconditional love throughout our early years!
6. Parents wondering whether to respond to crying might give some thought to their own responses in similar situations. Parents may consider it appropriate to ignore a child's cries, yet feel intensely angry if their partner ignores attempts to have a conversation. Many in our society seem to believe that a person must be a certain age before he has the right to be heard. Yet what age would that be? Infants and children are not any less a person just because they are small and helpless. If anything, the more helpless someone is, the more they deserve to have our compassion. attention, and assistance.
7. If children are taught by example that helpless persons deserve to be ignored, they can lose the compassion for others that all humans are born with. If, as helpless infants, their cries are ignored, they begin to believe that this is the appropriate response to those who are weaker than themselves, and that "might makes right". Without compassion, the stage is set for later violence. Those who wonder why a violent criminal had no compassion for his victims need to consider where he lost that compassion. Compassion does not disappear overnight. It is stolen, through unresponsive or punitive parenting, drop by drop, until it is gone. Loss of compassion is the greatest tragedy that can befall a child.
8. When a child learns by her parents' example that it is appropriate to ignore a child's cries, she will naturally treat her own child the same way, unless there is some intervention from others. Inadequate parenting continues through the generations until fortunate circumstances come about to change this pattern. How much easier it is for a parent to have learned in childhood how to treat his or her own child! Perhaps the cycle of inadequate parenting can begin to change when bystanders no longer walk past an anguished child without stopping to help. This may be the first time the child has been given the message that her feelings are legitimate and important, and this critical message may be remembered later when she herself has a child.
9. Crying is a signal provided by nature that is meant to disturb the parents so that the child's needs will be met. Ignoring a child's cries is like ignoring the warning signal of a smoke detector because we find it disturbing. This signal is meant to disturb us so that we can attend to an important matter. Only a deaf person would ignore a smoke detector, yet many parents turn a deaf ear to a child's cries. Crying, like the detector signal, is meant to capture our attention so that we can attend to the important needs of the child. It just makes no sense to think that nature would have provided all children with a routinely used signal that serves no good purpose.
10. Parents who respond only to "good" behavior may believe they are training the child to behave "better". Yet they themselves feel most like cooperating with those who treat them with kindness. It is as though children are seen as a different species, operating on different principles of behavior. This makes no sense, because it would be impossible to identify a moment when the child suddenly changes to "adult" operating principles. The truth is much simpler: children are human beings who behave on the same principles as all other human beings. Like the rest of us, they respond best to kindness, patience and understanding. Parents wondering why a child is "misbehaving" might stop and ask themselves this question: "Do I feel like cooperating when someone treats me well, or when someone treats me the way I have just treated my child?"

Jan has some interesting views.
Someone in my family was 'controlled cried' and had terrible headbanging at night later in his life. He was pushed into a room and left to cry for 15 minutes as a newborn, when he woke for a feed at night. I'm not saying this is definately why he had other sleep problems later, but it's just interesting that this happened in my family.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More Research....

These are some studies on infant care, take from these what you will..

Initial Lessons in Socialization

"When the infant is in a state of helpless fear and panic the amygdala
kicks in and sends messages to the brain to prepare the body for "flight or
fight." An infant can neither fight nor flee. If the panic isn't subdued by
intervention from a nurturing adult, the flood of chemicals and hormones may
rage through the brain, specifically targeting the amygdala and hippocamus, for
an unhealthy length of time.
Crying infants who are unattended have been
known to cry desperately for an hour or more until the amygdala eventually shuts
down. The infant in turn, learns after repeated episodes that it can not expect
comfort and response to its cries, and it may decide its needs are unworthy of
attention and nurturing--a decision which may ultimately affect the infant's
development self-worth.
Even though the brain may eventually determine it is
not in any danger on its own, vital opportunities to develop and reinforce
social lessons in trust, security and empathy may be missed if no attempt is
made by a nurturing caregiver to calm that state of emotional turmoil".

Read the whole article here;

Also this, a media article in USA Today;

Study: Maternal care affects adult stress
USA Today

"BRIGHTON, England (AP) — The way a mother cares for her baby can determine
how stressed out the child will be as an adult because her nurturing can
permanently change the way the infant's genes operate, new studies on rats
"This is a very important study," said Peter Gluckman, a professor of
pediatric and perinatal biology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand,
who was not involved in the research. "It shows us that the expression of genes
in mammals can be permanently changed by how mothers and infants interact and
how that can have long-term effects on behavior and psychiatric health." "

Read the whole article here;

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Controlled Crying and Routines

The following Authors are advocates of the Routine. They believe it is very important for a baby to have routine, but many believe this is possibly detrimental to a babies mental and physical health. Their methods often include scheduled feeding (as opposed to demand breastfeeding) and controlled crying methods for sleep 'management'. However this perspective is widely criticised, including by the American Academy of Pediatrics, as it can effect bonding and breastfeeding, and can be associated with a failure to thrive.

'Routine' advocates include;

Gary Ezzo

Gary Ezzo, the co-author of 'On Becoming Babywise' (also by Robert Bucknam M.D), is a pastor with no medical background. According to the website below, "he possesses no expertise in the care of infants ranging from newborn to six months, the approximate age-range covered in his book". His religious based book is criticised by the American Academy of Pediatrics and there is a website that collates the risks of using his method here;

He has two adult daughters who are presently estranged from him.(information from the above website)

(His co-author, Dr. Robert Bucknam, is a pediatrician. Fresh out of residency, he added the foreword to the original self-published Babywise (c. 1993). His foreword recounts how, prior to his pediatric training, he and his wife found guidance for parenting their young children in the Ezzos' earlier, religious version of Babywise).

Tizzie Hall

No qualifications are listed on her website.

Tizzie has a book called 'Save our Sleep'.Tizzie has no children

Gina Ford

Author of the book 'The Contented Baby'. Her website says that after studying Hotels and Catering in Edinburgh, she became a maternity nurse, but no training for this position is listed.

According to Wikipedia she doesn't have any children. (I was told by a GP in the UK that Gina Ford has just had a baby, but I can find nothing to back this up).

Tracey Hogg

RNMH (registered nurse mental handicap) after a three-year course at the Doncaster School of Nursing, England.In 2001 Tracy, with co-author, journalist Melinda Blau, published 'Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How To Calm, Connect, and Communicate With Your Baby'.

Tracey had two children (this information was not obtained from her website)

Dr Brian Symon

Brian is the author of 'Silent Nights' and is a GP and a lecturer in General Practice at the University of Adelaide, Australia.He has Four children.As a father, he is not able to feel what a mother feels when her child cries. He recommends a method called minimal reassurance, or 'crying down' from birth. He admits on his website that his teachings are not all based in research, but in his experience. "This is not a scientific book, but hopefully a collection of useful hints".Heres a quote from his website; 'During daylight hours I set an upper limit of 45 minutes of crying. The reason for this is that it is too harsh on the parent who is listening to tchild'slds cries. Some children will cry for a couple of hours particularly if they have become overtired. If I ask a mother or father to listen to this crying for hours it becomes distressing and can lead to a loss of confidence. Because of this I allow the baby to be lifted after 45 minutes'.And another; 'Your child's protest is logical, understandable and loud. It tugs at your heart. It needs to be ignored in a way that helps to develop sleep skills".

The following is a media article expressing concern for the Routine followers;

When to let a baby cry: Let the little one be your guide

By Barbara F. Meltz, Globe Staff June 3, 2004. The Boston Globe

Babies cry. That's a fact of life. How much we let them cry, that's a fact of parenting, and it's easily one of the most confusing, emotional, and even divisive issues new parents face. One parent may insist it's a no-brainer: If baby is crying, you do what you can to comfort and console. Another may argue that if you are always at baby's beck and call, life will never get back to "normal."For decades, the advice from respected child development specialists and pediatricians such as best-selling authors William Sears ("The Baby Book") and Penelope Leach ("Your Baby and Child"), as well as a host of organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, Zero to Three National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, the Brazelton Touchpoint Institute at Children's Hospital, and Brigham and Women's Hospital, is to respond to a crying baby as quickly as possible, especially a baby under 3 months old but including up to 6 months."Here's what I tell parents," says Sears, a pediatrician in San Clemente, Calif., who is known as the father of attachment parenting, a practice based on a high degree of responsiveness. "When in doubt, put yourself behind the eyes of your baby and ask yourself, `If I were my baby, what would I want my mother or father to do?' "Most of the time, that means parents will -- and in his mind, should -- pick up a crying baby.While this is widely accepted pediatric practice, it is not universal. In some places, it's even controversial.Today in England there's a growing brouhaha over what has come to be known as "controlled crying" -- allowing a baby to cry as a way to manipulate him onto a schedule: If he cries because he's hungry and the clock doesn't say it's time to feed him, let him cry.Leach, a British developmental child psychologist, is so alarmed at the growing popularity of this practice that she has written a position paper this month in the journal for the World Association of Infant Mental Health urging professionals to take a stand against it. The fuel for the movement, she says, is "The New Contented Little Baby Book," by Gina Ford, a maternity nurse, published in 2001. Ford's book is not unlike "On Becoming Babywise," by Gary Ezzo, executive director of Growing Families International, which drew some attention when it was published in 1998.Sears says it would be presumptuous to tell a parent at what moment, exactly, to pick up a crying infant. Pediatrician Constance Keefer of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Children's Hospital says that .. "If this [kind of crying] is the way it is for baby day after day, it takes a toll on the body. It creates a state of stress, raising blood pressure and pulse rate. Eventually it compromises oxygen level," she says. The parent of any baby knows that 10 minutes of crying is an eternity. The advice of Indianapolis neonatologist William Engle, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, is not to go by the clock but by what the cry sounds like. Sometimes you know within 20 seconds that a baby has lost it; other times, if you leave her for a minute, she'll go back to sleep.How long we let a baby cry may also have consequences that reach into the future."The more we know about brain development, the more we know that when a mother is not responsive, it's linked to [poor] cognitive development and social behavior," says Leach. "The hazard is of a child with too little conviction that he is really loved, as in unconditional love. If you don't respond to him when he cries, he comes to distrust the validity of his own feelings and your willingness to respond to them."Parents who are likely to let a baby cry it out typically do so because they are afraid of spoiling a baby, something Sears calls "nonsense," or as a way to get on a schedule, thinking that if the baby "learns" that this is not feeding time, for instance, eventually he'll stop crying."That's management, not mothering," says Leach in a telephone interview from London.Indeed, Ezzo throughout his book refers to "training" a baby.Ford's book offers feeding and sleeping schedules for newborns that are down to the minute. For instance, for a breast-feeding baby at 6 to 8 weeks, she writes: "Baby should be awake . . . and feeding no later than 7 a.m. . . . Do not feed after 7:45 a.m., as it will put him off his next feed. . . 9 a.m., Settle baby to sleep for no longer than 45 minutes. . ." Efforts to reach her through her British publisher were unsuccessful.Sure, eventually, all parents want children to eat and sleep on a routine, "but it's a matter of self-regulation, not of training or obedience," Leach says. "When it happens will differ from baby to baby. It depends on the maturation of the central nervous system as well as the self-confidence that is gained from warm, sensitive, responsive parenting."Anecdotal evidence suggests that neither Ezzo's nor Ford's book is selling strongly in New England. "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer" by Tracy Hogg is somewhat more popular. Registered nurse and certified lactation consultant Nancy Holtzman, director of postpartum programs at Isis Maternity in Brookline, says Hogg's book is not as rigid as the others, but it worries her nonetheless for its one-size-fits-all approach, especially to nursing. In an interview, Hogg describes her philosophy as "structured routine," but says she would never leave a baby to cry.As someone who comes into daily contact with new mothers, Holtzman says she can understand the appeal of "Baby Whisperer." "Women who are used to being organized and in control want a schedule. Anything less feels uncomfortable to them," she says. "The problem is that young babies are not very predictable. With a 3-week-old, I tell parents to expect every day to be different, but by 3 months, routines develop, predictability happens." A new "normal" emerges.Ideally, those routines happen because parents follow a baby's cues. "Every baby is an individual," says child development specialist Claire Lerner of Zero to Three who also objects to cookie-cutter approaches."What calms one baby upsets another. What bores one overwhelms another. Maybe you've got a baby who is easily frightened by loud noises, so you learn to insulate him when you want him to sleep. Maybe you have a baby who is social. She fusses when you insulate her. So you learn to put her to sleep in a baby carrier in a room full of people."Molly Trudell, who comes to Isis every Wednesday with 7 month-old Annike for a new mom's group, says that in the beginning, she woke her baby every two hours to feed her. "It took a long time to wake her, a long time to feed her, and a longer time to get her back to sleep. It was stupid. I did it for three days."Alanna Harrington, in the same Isis group, says it was her mother-in-law who got her on the right track with baby Julia, now 7 months old. "She kept saying, `Stop waking a sleeping baby.' Finally I did. Looking back now, I realize how ridiculous we were.""Babies are funny that way," says Molly Ducker, whose son Logan is 5 months. "They can figure out their own schedule if you just let them."Contact Barbara F. Meltz at mailto:meltz@globe.com

Another article;

Guilty secret that helps mums sleep at night


There is no doubt that Ford's methods polarise the baby care world. Many midwives hate her theories. Many are also quick to point out that Ford has no children of her own.Last night, one infant-feeding expert even warned that Fords books could lead to a reduction in breast-feeding, now seen almost universally as superior to the bottle.Allison Ewing, an independent midwife based in Glasgow, said: "Ive had some distressing calls from women that it hasnt worked for, possibly because they felt inadequate that they couldnt do what the book said."I dont think Ms Ford has had any children herself and I dont know how shed feel about leaving her own child, born from her own body, to cry. Its a lot easier to leave another baby to cry than yours. Id never recommend anyone to do that. They dont feel comfortable with it, and I would say you shouldnt do controlled crying in a child younger than six months."Another Scottish midwife, who did not want to be named, said: "Babies are not designed to be treated like this. They are not machines and I worry about the consequences."Professor Beth Alder, an expert on infant-feeding based at Napier University in Edinburgh, said the effect of Fords methods on a childs emotional development were unknown because no studies had been done."It would be fascinating to know, but we dont know," she said. "Breast-feeding is most successful if babies are fed on demand. This doesnt fit into a routine very easily, and my concern is that if mothers attempt to feed by routine they may find breast-feeding is difficult. The production of milk comes from suckling on the nipple, and a baby may not suckle frequently enough if it is in a routine."She said overall she would not recommend Ford "in its entirety" but that it contained "elements of good advice".However, Dr Jack Boyle, a chartered psychologist specialising in children, warned that Fords methods could be tantamount to abuse. He said: "Children are different in terms of temperament and intelligence, and hence a child-rearing pattern that suits one will not suit another. Thus the one-size-fits-all school of child-rearing is rejected entirely by mainstream psychologists."In my opinion its a form of abuse to impose a rigid child-rearing practice, because it doesnt take into account a childs own needs."Boyle, who is based in Glasgow, also warned: "[Fords] rules have not been verified. Theyre just made up by her. No one has followed up the babies subjected to those rules to see how they turn out."Ford was not available for comment.This article:

An important statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics;

Babywise advice linked to dehydration, failure to thrive

by Matthew Aney, M.D.

Expectant parents often fear the changes a new baby will bring, especially sleepless nights. What new parent wouldn't want a how-to book that promises their baby will be sleeping through the night by three to eight weeks?One such book, On Becoming Babywise, has raised concern among pediatricians because it outlines an infant feeding program that has been associated with failure to thrive (FTT), poor weight gain, dehydration, breast milk supply failure, and involuntary early weaning. A Forsyth Medical Hospital Review Committee, in Winston-Salem N.C., has listed 11 areas in which the program is inadequately supported by conventional medical practice.The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Orange County, Calif., stated its concern after physicians called them with reports of dehydration, slow growth and development, and FTT associated with the program. And on Feb. 8, AAP District IV passed a resolution asking the Academy to investigate "Babywise," determine the extent of its effects on infant health and alert its members, other organizations and parents of its findings.I have reviewed numerous accounts of low weight gain and FTT associated with "Babywise" and discussed them with several pediatricians and lactation consultants involved.The book's feeding schedule, called Parent Directed Feeding (PDF), consists of feeding newborns at intervals of three to three and one-half hours (described as two and one-half to three hours from the end of the last 30-minute feeding) beginning at birth. Nighttime feedings are eliminated at eight weeks.This advice is in direct opposition to the latest AAP recommendations on newborn feeding (AAP Policy Statement, "Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk," Pediatrics, Dec. 1997): "Newborns should be nursed whenever they show signs of hunger, such as increased alertness or activity, mouthing, or rooting. Crying is a late indicator of hunger. Newborns should be nursed approximately eight to 12 times every 24 hours until satiety."Although demand feeding is endorsed by the Academy, WHO, and La Leche League among others, "Babywise" claims that demand feeding may be harmful and outlines a feeding schedule in contrast to it. The book makes numerous medical statements without references or research, despite that many are the antitheses of well-known medical research findings. In 190 pages, only two pediatric journals are referenced with citations dated 1982 and 1986.Many parents are unaware of problems because the book is marketed as medically supported. It is co-authored by pediatrician Robert Bucknam, M.D., who not only states in the book that the "Babywise" principles are "medically sound," but also writes, "'Babywise' has brought a needed reformation to pediatric counsel given to new parents."The book's other author is Gary Ezzo, a pastor with no medical background. Ezzo's company, Growing Families International (GFI), markets the book as "ideally written" for "obstetricians, pediatricians, or health-care providers to distribute to their patients." (GFI promotes the same program under the title "Preparation for Parenting," a virtual duplicate with added religious material).Though "Babywise" does say, "With PDF, a mother feeds her baby when the baby is hungry," it also instructs parents to do otherwise. In a question-and-answer section, parents of a 2-week-old baby, who did not get a full feeding at the last scheduled time and wants to eat again, are instructed that babies learn quickly from the laws of natural consequences. "If your daughter doesn't eat at one feeding, then make her wait until the next one."Unfortunately, the schedule in "Babywise" does not take into account differences among breastfeeding women and babies. According to one report, differences of up to 300 percent in the maximum milk storage capacity of women's breasts mean that, although women have the capability of producing the same amount of milk over a 24-hour period for their infants, some will have to breastfeed far more frequently than others to maintain that supply. Babies must feed when they need to, with intervals and duration determined according to a variety of factors in temperament, environment, and physiological make-up. Averages may fit into a bell-shaped curve, but some babies will require shorter intervals. (Daly S., Hartmann P. "Infant demand and milk supply, Part 2. The short-term control of milk synthesis in lactating women." Journal of Human Lactation; 11; (1):27-37).My review of the low weight gain and FTT accounts associated with "Babywise" revealed several disturbing trends...Pediatricians need to know about "Babywise" and recognize its potential dangers. History taking should include questions to determine if parents are using a feeding schedule, especially before advising formula supplement to breastfeeding mothers or when faced with a low-gaining or possible failure to thrive baby. Lactation consultants also should be instructed to probe this area.Efforts should be made to inform parents of the AAP recommended policies for breastfeeding and the potentially harmful consequences of not following them.Dr. Aney is an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) candidate fellow based in Lancaster, Calif.

This article can be read here;

American Academy of Pediatrics Review of Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg and Melinda Blau

Author Tracy Hogg, a British-trained nurse, lactation educator and newborn consultant, works with parents individually as well as organizes and teaches group classes in Los Angeles. Her Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby has been described as a common-sense approach to parenting newborns. In it, she recommends various techniques to help parents understand and soothe their babies. Pediatricians who are familiar with the methods described in this book will be able to help parents distinguishwhat information is pertinent to their own families.Hogg advocates putting babies on a cycle she labels E.A.S.Y., or Eat, Activity, Sleep and Your Time, a schedule fairlyreminiscent of that described in Babywise. Parents are left without a suggested schedule once these naps have been eliminated. Hogg also suggests some feeding techniques that are counter to the AAPs and other specialists recommendations. For example, she advises scheduled rather than demand feeding in the newborn period, earlysupplementation with formula, and only nursing from one breast at each feeding. Such informationmay be confusing and possibly even harmful for patients.The author also classifies babies into five different types to help parents understand and therefore respond totheir infants personality. These categories are: Angel, Textbook, Touchy, Spirited, and Grumpy. For mosttrained practitioners, not to mention many parents, this classification is an oversimplification. Such stereotypesmay even be offensive to parents whose babies who do not fit in one of the 'nicer' groups.That said, her tendency to be authoritative and create oversimplified categories may be welcomed by someparents but, as discussed above, may be potentially misleading or even harmful for others. As with many parenting 'solutions' books, her categories are too narrow to represent the true variation in infant personalities and behaviors.

Jennifer Shu, MD, ChairAAP

Note; I am told that Tracey Hogg has written other books, with so called 'softer' approaches to controlled crying.

Monday, July 03, 2006

What is Controlled Crying?

My understanding of controlled crying is anything that involves leaving a baby to cry. Basically it means that a baby is put in a cot and a parent or carer leaves the room, re-entering at increasing intervals of time to ‘comfort’ or ‘reassure’ the baby while they cry, usually by putting one hand on the baby, but NOT looking at or picking up the baby. This usually results in the baby ‘learning’ to go to sleep. Some believe it involves the carer leaving the baby to cry without going in to the baby at all. This has to be repeated night after night until the baby ‘learns’ to sleep on its own, or gives up looking for comfort, care and attention.

A modified technique could be the carer staying in the room, limiting comfort for the child while in the cot (patting or shhing), or picking baby up when they are getting too upset to settle (vomiting or other physical effects of controlled crying) and then replacing in the cot when calm. To me, both ‘softer’ methods still involve leaving a baby to cry and are thus still controlled crying, although probably called something else, but still most likely producing the same result in the babies brain and emotions.

Search this blog in the June 2006 archives to find information and BE INFORMED about the reasons WHY controlled crying seems to work.

UK Infant Mental Health

This is from the UK Association for Infant Mental Health:

Newborn babies have a built-in drive to develop and practise every aspect of being human, yet each aspect of their growing up depends on their partnership with adults. If a parent holds herself aloof from her baby as a person, and from revelling in the physical pleasure in each other’s bodies, and in nursing at the breast or bottle, that underpins their adjustment to each other, seeing him instead as a programme and a project, she will not do all she can to keep him happy and busy and communicating with her. And of course the less busy and happy the baby is and the less he ‘talk’ to her, the less of a pleasure he will be.
The instruction manual approach gives parents a sense of adult control and separateness and supports their use of authority over the baby when what they most need is personal support while they risk submerging themselves in a relationship with him. It is misleading to parents to suggest that by rationing and routinising their attention to the baby they can conserve their adult autonomy because, however much they may resent the fact, their happiness and the baby’s are inextricably entangled. A mother may resent her baby’s crying; resent, even reject, the fact that he needs her - again. But ignoring (“controlling”) the crying does not only condemn the baby to cry unanswered but also condemns the mother to listen to him crying. So being sensitive to a baby’s needs, tuning in to him, treating him as he seems to ask to be treated, is not only better for the baby but also better for the mother and for their relationship. Being responsive to a baby soon grows into mutual responsiveness between child and parent.
Infants are not out to “get at” parents. Watching and listening to babies and responding positively to them whenever possible does not turn babies into bullies or parents into victims. On the contrary, it leads, naturally and without prior planning or particular rules, to negotiation between adults and infants and thence to the reciprocity on which all intimate relationships eventually depend. It is by negotiation (rather than by rules) that a parent arrives at the appropriate period of grace between this particular baby waking up and an adult arriving at the cot side. It is by negotiation that a mother can gradually stretch the time between feeds, or persuade her baby to accept her face and voice for reassurance when something startles him, instead of instant breast. It is through months of these reiterated mini-negotiations that a baby learns that mother is not him but someone separate. Someone who thinks about his needs and can be trusted, but who also has needs of her own. These lessons are the foundations of mutual regard. Laid in the first six months, they will support the mother-child relationship not only through infancy and as an alternative to rigidly programmed parental control, but through the toddler’s confused and confusing developmental drive for autonomy and the child’s increasing passion for peers, and into adolescence. And by then mutual regard is the only hope because power-tactics no longer work at all.

For the full article see:

Saturday, July 01, 2006

How Babies Sleep

Many child psychologists and psychiatrists disagree on how babies sleep. A lot of professionals believe an infant has a 'sleep problem' at even a few weeks of age. Some even expect a baby to be 'sleeping through' the night by age 12 weeks and others believe they should be able to 'sleep through' by 6 months. According to some, it is more realistic to expect your baby to sleep through when they are ready developmentally, which is more likely to be around 2 - 4 years of age.

Infant Sleep Facts Every Parent Should Know
by Dr Sears

Babies don't sleep as deeply as you do. Not only do babies take longer to go to sleep and have more frequent vulnerable periods for nightwaking; they have twice as much active, or lighter, sleep as adults. At first glance, this hardly seems fair to parents tired from daylong baby care. Yet, if you consider the developmental principle that babies sleep the way they do -- or don't -- for a vital reason, it may be easier for you to understand your baby's nighttime needs and develop a nighttime parenting style that helps rather than harms your baby's natural sleep rhythms. Here's where I'm at odds with modern sleep trainers who advise a variety of gadgets and techniques designed to help baby sleep more deeply through the night -- for a price, and perhaps at a risk.
Nightwaking has survival benefits. In the first few months, babies' needs are the highest, but their ability to communicate their needs is the lowest. Suppose a baby slept deeply most of the night. Some basic needs would go unfulfilled. Tiny babies have tiny tummies, and mother's milk is digested very rapidly. If a baby's stimulus for hunger could not easily arouse her, this would not be good for baby's survival. If baby's nose was stuffed and she could not breathe, or was cold and needed warmth, and her sleep state was so deep that she could not communicate her needs, her survival would be jeopardized.

For more go to this link… it’s a fantastic article:

Comfort babies rather than let them cry

June 1, 2006 - 8:29AM
The Sydney Morning Herald

Comforting babies is better than letting them cry and ultimately results in fewer tears, at least during the first few weeks of life.
British researchers who compared the benefits of soothing bawling babies or letting them settle themselves found that holding and comforting them minimised the crying.
"The hands-off approach appeared to backfire: babies fussed and cried 50 per cent more at two and five weeks," New Scientist magazine said.
"And they were still crying more after 12 weeks," it added.
Ian St James-Roberts, of the University of London's Institute of Education, examined the benefits of different approaches used by British, Danish and American parents who kept a diary of their baby's behaviour and their own responses.
Some parents held their babies for up to 16 hours a day and quickly answered their cries while others had them in their arms much less and left them crying for awhile.
St James-Roberts said comforting the baby on demand, rather than a very high level of comfort and care, minimised the tears.
"But it makes no difference to the unsoothable bouts of crying that are the core of colic," he told the magazine.

Here's the reserach they're talking about:

Infant Crying and Sleeping in London, Copenhagen and When Parents Adopt a "Proximal" Form of Care
Ian St James-Roberts, PhDa, Marissa Alvarez, PhDb, Emese Csipke, PhDa, Tanya Abramsky, MSca, Jennifer Goodwin, BAa and Esther Sorgenfrei, MScb
a Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London, London, United Kingdomb Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
PEDIATRICS Vol. 117 No. 6 June 2006, pp. e1146-e1155 (doi:10.1542/peds.2005-2387)

OBJECTIVE. Western parents are given conflicting advice about whether to introduce a "scheduled" approach to infant care or to follow their infants' demands. Attempts to address this issue using randomized, controlled trials have been unsuccessful. This comparative study collected evidence about methods of parenting and associated infant crying and sleeping in 2 communities with substantially different approaches to infant care (London, United Kingdom, and Copenhagen, Denmark) and in a "proximal care" group, where parents planned to hold their infants 80% of the time between 8 AM and 8 PM, breastfeed frequently, and respond rapidly to infant cries.
METHODS. Validated behavior diaries were used to measure parental behavior and infant crying and night waking longitudinally at 8 to 14 days, 5 to 6 weeks, and 10 to 14 weeks of age. Feeding and sleeping practices were measured by questionnaire. RESULTS. Proximal care parents held infants for 15 to 16 hours per 24 hours and coslept with them through the night more often than other groups. London parents had 50% less physical contact with their infants than proximal care parents, including less contact when the infants were crying and when awake and settled. London parents also abandoned breastfeeding earlier than other groups. Copenhagen parents fell in between the other groups in measures of contact and care. These differences in caregiving were associated with substantial differences in several aspects of infant crying and settled behavior at night. London infants cried 50% more overall than infants in both other groups at 2 and 5 weeks of age. However, bouts of unsoothable crying occurred in all 3 of the groups, and the groups did not differ in unsoothable bouts or in colicky crying at 5 weeks of age. Proximal care infants woke and cried at night most often at 12 weeks. Compared with proximal care infants, Copenhagen infants cried as little per 24 hours, but woke and cried at night less often at 12 weeks of age.

CONCLUSIONS. "Infant-demand" care and conventional Western care, as practiced by London parents, are associated
with different benefits and costs. As used by proximal care and Copenhagen parents, infant demand parenting is associated with less overall crying per 24 hours. However, the proximal form of infant-demand parenting is associated with more frequent night waking and crying at 12 weeks of age. Copenhagen infants cry as little per 24 hours as proximal care infants but are settled at night like London infants at 12 weeks of age. Colicky crying bouts at 5 weeks of age are unaffected by care. The findings have implications for public health care policy. First, they add to evidence that bouts of unsoothable crying, which are common in early infancy, are not much affected by variations in parenting, providing reassurance that this aspect of infant crying is not parents' fault. Second, the findings provide information that professionals can give to parents to help them to make choices about infant care. Third, the findings support some experts' concerns that many English parents are adopting methods of care that lead to increased crying in their infants. There is a need for informed debate among professionals, policy makers, and parents about the social and cultural bases for the marked differences between London and Copenhagen parents' approach to care.

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