No one likes to listen to their baby cry... But a practice that has been very popular the last 25 years is letting babies "cry it out". I posted an article from Psychology Today on my social media outlets today that was shared around facebook and created a little controversy. It was titled "Dangers of Crying it Out, Damaging Children and their Relationships for the Longterm." You can read it here, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/moral-landscapes/201112/dangers-crying-it-out. The first thing I want to say is that anytime as a parent if you are faced with something that you could be possibly doing wrong in regards to your child, the first reaction is to get defensive. It is a very hard thing to come to grasps with, that you may be harming your child. Hey, Ive been there, Im a parent too. I don't always make every right decision either. But when presented with new information, the worst thing you can do is have a closed mind. Because maybe you could possibly learn something from it. I face this often when talking to parents about vaccines. Even when faced with overwhelming evidence, sometimes the mountain that we have been injecting our children with poison is just too hard to climb. Denial is a dangerous thing though, it's what ruins alcoholics lives, bankrupts families, and is always the first and hardest thing to overcome. So never feel bad when you are faced with new information, you never knew, but instead of denial, do a 180, and change from that day forward.
Sorry, that was really drug out, but I just know how hard it can be as a parent and wanted to touch on that. Here is the bottom line, crying it out is damaging to young infants. You see, when you place a young baby in their crib to cry it out, they literally do not comprehend that you are just in the other room and are coming back. Obviously at a certain age, different with every child, they do start to learn that you will return. But as a young infant, they do not have these capabilities. When the baby is crying they are under extreme duress aka stress. Which means stress hormones are through the roof. Let me ask you a question, do you want your baby developing organs, neurons, and other tissues under stress hormones? Of course not! You want the least amount of stress on your baby, so their development is flawless. When stress hormones are present, this can not be achieved.
Now that is just talking about what stress can do to a baby physically, lets now touch on what can happen emotionally. The role of stress and anxiety as a young child has been linked to anxiety, depression, relationship problems, and other emotional issues. This is very common with abandoned children, or foster kids coming from broken homes, or homes of neglect and abuse. It is no secret that kids placed in stressful situations can be affected long term. Now every child's different, maybe you child cried once, and after that was fine. But if you baby is crying night after night, they are under stress. That is why personally, my wife and I chose to practice "attachment parenting", and our goal is to make our daughter's childhood as stress free as possible. Some people think, this may cause dependency. It actually creates the exact opposite, it creates very secure children who have no insecurities or trust issues. That cry, is their way of communicating before they are able to speak, it's not just a tantrum.
I encourage you to do whatever feels natural, if it doesn't feel natural to let your child scream their head off every night until they finally fall asleep because they have given up from exhaustion. Then you might want to try co sleeping, if you are breast feeding, this is also extremely convenient. If it does feel natural to let them cry it out, then keep doing it, but this can lead me in to another topic... Induced labors, c-sections, and the release of the attachment hormone oxytocin. But I'll save that for a different blog, a different day.
Like all my blogs, if you found typos or run on sentences, that's because I am a doctor and I write these in between patients. Im not a professional blogger. If you would like to get you kids checked to see if they are living as healthy as they possibly can, call our office Adjust. We exam all children for free.
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