The Case Against Cry-It-Out

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Nothing good happens in life without adequate attention, dedication and love. It can be applied to your career, to your friends, to your pets, and the list can go on and on. But most importantly, nothing good happens when you start withdrawing your love and attention from your family, especially your babies. Listen to your instincts more, love them, hold them, don’t listen to those telling you otherwise. Your babies count on you!

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This is a good article to research about Cry-It-Out: Dangers of Crying It Out

“Letting babies “cry it out” is an idea that has been around since at least the 1880s when the field of medicine was in a hullaballoo about germs and transmitting infection and so took to the notion that babies should rarely be touched.

With neuroscience, we can confirm what our ancestors took for granted—that letting babies get distressed is a practice that can damage children and their relational capacities in many ways for the long term. We know now that leaving babies to cry is a good way to make a less intelligent, less healthy but more anxious, uncooperative and alienated person who can pass the same or worse traits on to the next generation.

The fact is that caregivers who habitually respond to the needs of the baby before the baby gets distressed, preventing crying, are more likely to have children who are independent than the opposite. Soothing care is best from the outset. Once patterns get established, it’s much harder to change them.

The first year of life is a sensitive period for establishing a sense of TRUST in the world, the world of caregiver and the world of self. When a baby’s needs are met without distress, the child learns that the world is a trustworthy place, that relationships are supportive, and that the self is a positive entity that can get its needs met. When a baby’s needs are dismissed or ignored, the child develops a sense of MISTRUST of relationships and the world. And self-confidence is undermined. The child may spend a lifetime trying to fill the inner emptiness.

A caregiver who learns to ignore baby crying, will likely learn to ignore the more subtle signaling of the child’s needs. Second-guessing intuitions to stop child distress, the adult who ignores baby needs practices and increasingly learns to “harden the heart.” The reciprocity between caregiver and baby is broken by the adult, but cannot be repaired by the young child. The baby is helpless.

But isn’t it normal for babies to cry?
No. A crying baby in our ancestral environment would have signaled predators to tasty morsels. So our evolved parenting practices alleviated baby distress and precluded crying except in emergencies. Babies are built to expect the equivalent of an “external womb” after birth. What is the external womb? —being held constantly, breastfed on demand, needs met quickly. These practices are known to facilitate good brain and body development. When babies display discomfort, it signals that a need is not getting met, a need of their rapidly growing systems.

What does extensive baby crying signal? It shows the lack of experience, knowledge and/or support of the baby’s caregivers. To remedy a lack of information in us all, below is a good set of articles about all the things that a baby’s cry can signal. We can all educate ourselves about what babies need and the practices that alleviate baby crying. We can help one another to keep it from happening as much as possible.”

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