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, August 23, 2006

More Articles

Here are some more articles I have recently found.

Don't let baby "cry it out"

Crying is a baby's only way to "talk" to his caregivers. Some people will tell mom that baby has to be on a schedule and he will have to cry it out until it's feeding time again. Our mothers and grandmothers were given this advice based on formula feeding and mistaken beliefs that babies need to be scheduled. Today experts believe that we should view the breast as an external placenta providing nourishment whenever it is needed. Newborns aren't on the same time clock that adults are. In fact, most newborns seem to have their days and nights mixed up (see The first 4 weeks: baby ). A newborn responds to his natural internal clock.
Letting a baby "cry it out" is bad if not dangerous advice. Prolonged crying is physiologically detrimental to the infant. The effects of crying are like the Valsalva Maneuver in the adult. [The Valsalva Maneuver is where you try to push air out of your lungs without opening your throat, it can also occur when an adult strains to have a bowel movement or during the pushing stage of labor.] The Valsalva Maneuver affects the way the body functions: large changes in blood flow occur, oxygen levels in the blood decrease, blood pressure rises, the heart rate slows, intracranial pressure (inside the head) rises, pressure on the ear drums increases, and blood flow from the inferior vena cava (a large vein in the abdomen and chest) to the heart decreases, which keeps the heart from pumping as much blood as it should. (Marasco and Barger)
This article can be found here;

A Baby's Cries
by, Jeri

"'As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you...'" ~Isaiah 66:13a (English-NIV)
"Crying is as good for the lungs as bleeding is for the veins." ~ Dr. William Sears, The Fussy Baby, page 63
". . . crying has been found to be physiologically detrimental to the new infant. Large fluctuations in blood flow occur during extended crying periods, decreasing cerebral oxygenation and causing an increase in cerebral blood volume. As a result, rising blood pressure increases intracranial pressure, putting baby at risk for an intracranial hemorrhage. Meanwhile, oxygen-depleted blood flows back into the systemic circulation rather than into the lungs (Anderson, GC)." ~ excerpted from Examining the Evidence for Cue feeding of Breastfed Infants by Lisa Marasco, BA, IBCLC and Jan Barger, MA, RN, IBCLC

"A mother is ridiculed for wanting to pick up her crying baby. Yet, this response to a call, the concern for her offspring, is an action that comes from the very depth of her motherhood." ~ excerpted from An Oversight of Our Culture By Tine Thevenin

My Thoughts
Have you ever heard the old sayings that "babies need to cry to exercise their lungs" or "your're going to spoil him by picking him up every time he cries--he's just trying to manipulate you"? They are myths, and contrary to what these statements try to make us believe, babies cry to communicate their needs. If they hurt, they cry. If they miss the closeness they were so used to for nine months (and why shouldn't they miss it??), they will cry. Babies need closeness and warmth, love and nurturing.
If a mom holds herself back from comforting her child because she fears she might spoil him, his crying will most likely escalate. His blood pressure will rise. He may become hysterical... and very hard to comfort. This type of crying causes extreme frustration in those who hear it, not to mention being frightening, exhausting, and potentially dangerous to a baby.
Whereas if a mom follows her heart and immediately tries to comfort her crying baby and meet his needs, her baby will be more responsive to her care. Responding quickly to a baby's cries has been shown to reduce the amount of crying a baby does. A quick response helps your baby learn to trust you, and teaches you to be sensitive to your baby's needs.
If you respond quickly to your baby's cries, and he still cries a lot, you may start to worry that you are spoiling your baby or that there is something wrong with you or your baby. If you know that your baby does not have a medical problem that makes him cry a lot, then worry no more. . . . You probably have been blessed with a high-need baby. Striving to meet his needs will forge a strong attachment between you and your baby and will help him feel as contented as possible. This will encourage your baby to meet his full potential.
Since a crying baby is trying to communicate his needs to you, perhaps your goal should not be to stop the crying, but to meet your baby's needs. Sometimes that need is a shoulder to cry on. Be there for your baby!! Maybe some of my hints for Calming a Fussy Baby will help you!
Unanswered Cries Can Lead to Hopelessness
In Suzanne Arms' book Immaculate Deception II, she explains how in the 1970s Dr. T. Berry Brazelton studied newborns to see whether they could feel hopeless or depressed. In the following quote from page 186, Arms tells of a study that Dr. Brazelton did in which he videotaped babies crying in order to get the attention of their moms, and, eventually, when this failed, their descent into hopelessness:
In a heartrending series of videotaped sessions, each baby can be seen crying to elicit a response from its mother and, failing to do so, working even harder. After a number a minutes of making all kinds of faces and trying to make eye contact, each baby finally reaches its level of tolerance and begins to look away from the mother, finding it too difficult to continue making an effort with no response. The baby eventually turns it sic face away from its mother's face. Then it turns toward the mother again and tries to rouse a response. Each time it turns away for longer and longer periods. Finally, each baby slumps down, drops its head, and shows all the signs hopelessness.
This article can be found here;

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