I'm not Alegna... but really, babies are crying because something is *wrong*. I don't think the focus is so much on stopping the crying, but on helping the child feel better, and helping fix what is wrong. When babies are happy and no longer is distress, they don't cry. If nursing does that, great. If a quiet room works, fabulous. If simply being held and crying works, that's fine too... but I do think that needing to cry to resolve underlying trauma is pretty far down on the list of reasons why babies cry.
For example, if I have a fight with my husband and I cry....after the fight is over and everything is resolved and perfect and there is nothing negative remaining between us, I will still feel a need to cry. At first he didn't understand this, and thought something was still wrong. And I didn't really know why I still felt like crying, either. But, I figured out that I just need it to shed the stress and intensity of the experience. Now he just lets me keep crying. Before, we would both try to stop me from crying. Often after an emotional experience like that, we would feel very close and loving and have a very tender love-making experience...and then after I would go take a bath, and still find myself feeling like I need a cry, even after all of those endorphins added to my system that should comfort me.
I know nursing causes opiate-like effects in the baby's brain, which may stop the crying the way endorphins do, but I don't know if it really relieves the stress, or just makes the baby better able to deal with the stress.
Does the baby still feel, after nursing, like he WISHES he could cry and get it out of him? I don't know. So, I intend to keep an open mind about this issue for a while. No conclusion yet.
|FWIW my dd is 18 months now. When she has a serious fall or bump or scrape, I DO offer to nurse. Sometimes she will, and it makes her feel better. Sometimes she won't, and that's fine. But I wouldn't NOT offer just because I know she's crying because she's hurt not because she's hungry. Does that make sense? We should offer to comfort babies and children in appropriate ways. Nursing and hugs- good. Here's a cookie, be quiet- not so good. I don't have an issue with the fact that SOME babies SOME times cry and need to just let it out. I do have a problem with witholding something that SEEMS to comfort them (ie, stop the crying) because you're making the intellectual leap that they must need to just cry. Crying in arms SOMEtimes is the best thing (when all other things have been checked) But it should not be assumed that ALL babies need to do it.
But emotional pain seems like it should have different responses.
I understand that those of you who are posting against EVER letting the baby cry are mostly coming from a place where your concern is how it is possible to determine that the baby is crying from a need to relieve emotional stress. I can understand that it is probably not easy. I have not been there yet, so I don't know. I plan to approach this issue with all the awareness I can muster and see if I can figure out for sure if my baby is needing a de-stress cry. If I can't be sure, then I think I will probably not feel comfortable if I don't try nursing.
|"William and Martha Sears: “Research has shown that crying is a healthy part of the recovery process—a physiologic aid to releasing stored stress. . . . Lucky is the child who feels the freedom to cry without rebuke. Wise is the parent who gives a supportive presence. There is a big difference between allowing your baby to cry (without panic on your part!) and leaving her to cry alone and uncomforted.”
—The Baby Book, 2nd ed. Little, Brown and Company, 2003."
I remember clearly as a child, when a beloved pet would die, he would hold me and let me just cry. Usually after about 15-30 minutes of this, I felt so relieved and refreshed and at peace. In my adult life, when I lost a pet I loved, I felt like I had to take measures to stop myself from crying. More than a year since my cat Enki died, I still don't feel as released from that stress as I used to feel after just half an hour of crying.