I had these same questions and issues when DD was a newborn. My midwife believes a lot in letting them "tell their story" (especially their birth story) and "expressing themselves", but not CIO or anything of the sort. She related it like, how would you feel if every time you wanted to complain about something or started to cry, someone kept trying to shove some food into your mouth, or rock you really hard and say "It's ok, it's ok, shhhh shhhh"? Well, we wouldn't really like it much. lol. But I had some PPD issues and could NOT stand to hear her cry. Not because "oh poor baby is crying" but I because I couldn't take the sound. If the boob didn't work then I would literally shut myself in my bedroom while DW dealt with it. My midwife helped me a lot during the beginning with how to soothe a baby, what her sounds mean, etc. But I couldn't get on board with "letting her tell her story" at the very beginning. I was literally scared of the idea of being around her while she was crying. I did everything I could to shush her.
One night every possible thing was done and she still wanted to cry (only happened one night for about 2 hours). She was about 2 weeks old and I decided to try the midwife's way. We let her tell her story while holding her, rocking her, wearing her, etc. I fully believe that night she really did just want to tell us how pissed off she was that she's not in the womb anymore and how bright and cold it is. She had to tell us about her long labor and birth, how she had to try to fit her big head through that tiny hole, and her difficulty with nursing. We responded by telling her that we hear her, we understand how hard it is, it'll get better, we're here for you, we won't silence you, your feelings are valid, and we'd ask her questions about her experience, tell us more, etc. (Sounds woowoo, I know.) I really imagined her telling us that she's "trying to nurse but it's hard to get it right, but I'll keep trying, Mom. Everything is so new and it's scary. There's so much to take in and I just want to sleep".
After that 2 hour "story" she was fine. Fell asleep and hasn't done that since. She's never had another crying episode that wasn't about hunger, sleepiness or wetness. Now she rarely cries at all. She'll only fuss if she's hungry or tired. If she's overly tired and can't fall asleep then she'll start to cry for about 10 seconds before we put her to sleep with the mommy magic. ;) I think she would have cried a lot less at the beginning if we had just allowed her to "tell her story" earlier. That was our experience, anyway.
Now DD is only 4.5 months old. So, not that much experience. ;) I know as she gets older she will express herself through crying (anger, boredom, frustration, hurt, etc). And that will be fine with us.
Edited by Monarchgrrl - 3/18/11 at 1:00pm