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The Overlooked Healing Benefits of Crying - Page 5

post #81 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by M&Mmommy
Alegna,

OK, I'm hearing you. Thanks for responding, too.

Sounds like you believe that stopping a baby from crying is extremely important, and you'll do whatever you can think of to help your baby stop crying. What do you think about an older child's tears or tantrums? Do you think any loving measure should be taken to stop his or her crying?
.
I still do not understand why some feel it is ok to let a child cry? I think that some parents thwart emotional outlets by telling their children never to cry. But, that is very different from responding to a child who is crying or having a tantrum in a way that is kind and gentle and seeks to help that child relax and stop crying/tantruming. There is no thwarting of emotions involved in the latter. To me this is just an important part of being an attached, emotionally responsive parent - you do what you can to help your children be emotionally balanced and you respond to their needs. When children cry, I think they are letting out their emotions and they are also asking for help. When I cry, I want to let my emotions out but I also want a hug and someone to help me get over whatever I am crying about.

I still think that just letting a child cry and not doing anything at all to help it stop, is not an appropriately gentle and responsive approach. My child was colicky for 10 hours a day as an infant and I did whatever I could to help her out of that, to calm her, to respond to her, to help her. I never saw her crying as cathartic in and of itself. It was always a response to overstimulation and I saw it as my job to help calm her down and soothe her nerves. My child has never had a full blown tantrum but when she gets close, I see it as my job to help solve the problem at hand in a responsive and kind way in order to help her not be so upset.

Quote:
Do you think any loving measure should be taken to stop his or her crying?
YES
post #82 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by flyingspaghettimama
FWIW, because my firstborn had colic after an incredibly traumatic, stressful birth, I really used to believe colic had to do with this. But the second had it too after the happy hippie waterbirth! So, some kids just need a little more - but I never would have stopped offering things until we found what worked for him. What he needed, in other words.
FSM, I get the impression from your post that you object to the idea of stopping before finding the cause and offering something to alleviate the resulting pain. Is that correct? I ask because I felt I had learned the cause, when for example, my 1st born twin DD threw tantrum after tantrum about wanting to be "the leader" wherever anyone walked with her. I discovered via many occasions of holding her and hearing her tears (without trying to stop her crying) during the tantrums that she was wildly angry and upset about being left in the IICN (one step down from NICU) while her sister went home for the first 15 days of her life. She has told me she is afraid she'll be left behind, and she's been working on letting this anger out for going on four years. I was relieved to find out what was making her so furious, so I could help alleviate the pain. I have listened to her cry in my arms many times and told her she'll never be left alone again. I have apologized and cried with her because I left her there at all and didn't bring her home with me or camp out there.

Can you see how I would think of this as not stopping until I found out the cause of her anguish?

Warmly,
M&Mmommy
post #83 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boongirl
I still do not understand why some feel it is ok to let a child cry?
Boongirl, what do you think about T. Berry Brazelton, Dr. Sears, Peggy O'mara, and others explanations for why they feel it is okay to hold a child and lovingly be with her while she cries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boongirl
I still think that just letting a child cry and not doing anything at all to help it stop, is not an appropriately gentle and responsive approach.
I hope this doesn't sound defensive, but I have never stood by doing nothing at all while either of my DDs cried. Not in any way at all.

With respect,
M&Mmommy
post #84 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
Again, I don't think stopping the crying was ever the issue - the issue is whether or not to comfort, through any means that is effective.
I feel like I completely agree with what you said here. One difference, I guess, is that if my DC only finds comfort,(and I've gone thru the checklist of other possible causes) after offloading a big enormous cry, I feel the means (crying while supported emotionally, in this case) was effective. KWIM?

Seeking to understand,
M&Mmommy
post #85 of 122
From p18 of Dr. Sears The Discipline Book :

"Responding to your baby's cries is discipline 101. When your baby cries, pick him up and comfort him. Don't waste time wondering, "should I pick him up?" Just do it. A baby's cry is his language - listen to it! A baby's cry is designed to ensure tht his needs for food, holding, rest, and social interaction are met. Responding to your baby's cries is your first exercise in teaching your baby to trust you. We do not mean to imply that it is your job to make your baby stop crying. Only a baby can do that. It is your job to help him stop crying. Yet there will be times that your baby does keep crying because even your holding him or feeding him doesn't help,and you'll have some research to do. The difference is he's not being left to cryalone. You continue to hold, rock, bounce, jiggle, take a walk outside - do whatever it takes to help him. Just being with him helps, and you'll learn as you go. The cry is baby's first communication tool. Listen to it."

p.19 goes on to say " Teach your baby to cry better. Responding to a baby's cries is not only good for the baby and the parents, its also good for the relationship." He then writes about how responding to the baby's cries help mellow the ear-shattering cries that they first do. "Babies whose early cries receive a nurturant response learn to cry better - their cries are mellow and do not take on a more disturbing quality. The ultimate in crying sensitivity happens when you become so fine-tuned to your baby's body language that you read and respond to the precry signal and intervene before crying is necessary. A very attached and nurtarant mother who was well on her way to becoming a good disciplinarian told us, "My baby seldom cries. She does not need to." p.20


From: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/t051200.asp#t051204
Quote:
What cry research tells us. Researchers Sylvia Bell and Mary Ainsworth performed studies in the 1970's that should have put the spoiling theory on the shelf to spoil forever. (It is interesting that up to that time and even to this day, the infant development writers that preached the cry-it-out advice were nearly always male. It took female researchers to begin to set things straight.) These researchers studied two groups of mother-infant pairs. Group 1 mothers gave a prompt and nurturant response to their infant's cries. Group 2 mothers were more restrained in their response. They found that children in Group 1 whose mothers had given an early and more nurturant response were less likely to use crying as a means of communication at one year of age. These children seemed more securely attached to their mothers and had developed better communicative skills, becoming less whiny and manipulative.
I know you are not referring to cry it out but I think this quote is good for making the point that a nurturant response to crying leads to less crying.


Peggy does talk about what she calls the The Crying in arms approach . This must be what you are talking about.

Quote:
To implement the crying-in-arms approach, the first thing to do when your baby cries is to look for all possible needs. When all immediate needs are filled and your baby is still crying, even though you are holding her lovingly in your arms, a helpful response is to continue holding her while trying to relax. This is not the time to continue searching frantically for one remedy after another to stop the crying. Take your baby to a peaceful room and hold her calmly in a position that is comfortable for both of you. Look into her eyes and talk to her gently and reassuringly while expressing the deep love you have for her. Try to surrender to her need to release stress through crying, and listen respectfully to what she is “telling” you.37, 38 Your baby will probably welcome the opportunity to have a good cr
I used to go to one of those emotional release therapy practitioners. This is one philosophy of many when it comes to psychotherapy. He drove me nuts trying to get me to cry to release my stress. I did not want to cry to release my stress. When I cry, I want a hug and some good advice. I have never cried ever in my life where I have just wanted to sit and cry and just let it go for stress relief. I respect anyone who does feel the need to do that but I do not understand how one can really and truly know for sure that their child is crying for merely the release of stress or something else. (I spent 2 years, off and on, with that counselor until I finally found one I like better. )

Peggy says in that article that you should try all the known remedies you can but not to go crazy finding solutions, just to relax and let the baby cry. I am more in the Dr. Sears camp that I believe my child's crying is a signal for help. As the mother in Dr Sears book said
Quote:
My baby seldom cries. She does not need to.
Kathy
post #86 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by M&Mmommy
Alegna,

OK, I'm hearing you. Thanks for responding, too.

Sounds like you believe that stopping a baby from crying is extremely important, and you'll do whatever you can think of to help your baby stop crying. What do you think about an older child's tears or tantrums? Do you think any loving measure should be taken to stop his or her crying?

Yours,
ymmomM&M

p.s. this is *not* a set-up question where you reply and I try to pick apart your answer. I'm sincerely asking your thoughts.
Stopping a baby from crying IS important in that the crying tells us SOMETHING is wrong. If we can help, we should. Older children cry for lots of reasons, but in most cases can express their feelings in some form or fashion beyond crying. I'm a BIG fan of talking- unfortunately babies don't have that down 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.

-Angela
post #87 of 122
Thread Starter 
For another pov, here's another quote from the Sears' (also cited on Mothering.com).

"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 have to say I respect all the mothers who have posted here. I get the impression that lots of thought and insight has gone into this subject. And many of you have pointed out the big difference between stopping a child from expressing tears and sadness simply because their crying makes us uncomfortable, versus the nurturing desire to help the person (young or old) feel better. I feel that nurturing desire too, and in that, I don't feel very different from you at all.

With kindness,
M&Mmommy
post #88 of 122
This is one of those topics where people seem to either

~Feel perplexed, confused, or even upset, and don't find the discussion persuasive enough to change that feeling

~Or they go "Aha, yes, EXACTLY!" because they totally and completely get what the OP is describing, based on their own real life experiences.

I am in the second category. I totally understand EXACTLY what the OP means when she says there is another type of crying that a baby can express.

My son had a terribly traumatic babyhood. He needed several life saving surgeries in a short period of time.

I knew in my heart of mothering hearts that sometimes he cried over painful memories. What this looks like or how it sounds can't be described in a way that persuades a doubtful person. But it can be described in a way that will make a parent in the same situation go "Oh my gosh, yes, thank you, you get it!!". You just know. I just knew. It was so perfectly clear. His eyes could have been anyone's, and he would give me a look that transcended the physical space. It was a very deep kind of connection, of a shared pain. The way any person might look at you, look away, cringe, break down in tears, then collect themselves and look back at you for a validation over what was revealed, it is just something you intuitively recognize as emotional communication.

You can't learn anything from this topic if you lift it out of the context of what is being described.

Just to point out the hot button topic of nursing~and i am not commenting here on anything other than the OP's words on this~I will point this out.

I don't think the OP means that being comforted by nursing is a problem. I think the point is that something that looks like comfort nursing to the detached observer, but feels like a distracting frantic boob dance that escalates the parents' sense of confusion and helplessness, is the problem. Not all babies will send pefectly clear "yes/no" responses to the offer to nurse. I know my son would almost always suck anything put in his mouth for at least a few seconds, as though trying to identify what it was and then decide if he wanted it. So for those few seconds he was quiet. Then he would spit it out and scream. But then he would seem to root and want it again, and then spit it out and scream. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Harmful? No, I don't think it was harmful. Comforting? No. Distracting? Yes. And that is the point. The distinction between nursing to comfort and nursing to distraction is just stone cold clear when you have a baby who does it. It is not clear if your baby does not do this. And even when they do it, it takes you as the parent a while to grasp what the heck is going on. Especially when the topic of crying is split so deeply into "CIO vs. AP" camps. If he had settled into a nice, long, quiet, cozy nursing-to-sleep-session, then great. But he didn't. And he didn't hold up his hand and say "Please mother, no distractions now, I would like to vent" either. I had to figure out what his mixed signals were telling me. And then, I needed some kind of validation that my intuition was guiding me down a path that others had travelled.

And that is who threads like this really help. The sensitive, responsive, attentive parent who is learning about their expressive baby, and not finding answers in the black and white threads on crying. I don't care if ten pages of people cast doubtful glances on this topic. Just every so often someone is going to read this and go "Wow, yes, THANK YOU!" and walk away a more confident, capable parent.
post #89 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by M&Mmommy
One difference, I guess, is that if my DC only finds comfort,(and I've gone thru the checklist of other possible causes) after offloading a big enormous cry, I feel the means (crying while supported emotionally, in this case) was effective. KWIM?
Well... I do think that sometimes people end up with a lot of pent-up frustration and stress, and crying can be a way to release that. So, right now I'm worried about my father's upcoming open-heart surgery, and I've been working a lot, and not sleeping enough, and the dog had diarrhea on the carpet, and I just got my period, and really, one more stressful even could easily send me over the edge and I would just start sobbing. And if that happened, it would be great if someone just sat next to me and rubbed my shoulders and held me while I cried. If anyone would like to volunteer, come on over...

OTOH, if a baby's needs are being met, I'm not seeing how he will end up with this kind of emotional build-up. I know that sometimes when a baby is uncomfortable and the parent can't or doesn't figure out why and help relieve the discomfort, the baby can escalate into just crying to relieve tension and frustration, and sometimes even if you do figure out what the problem was, resolving it won't immediately cause the crying to stop. I still think one should continue looking for the underlying problem, though.

And I do not believe that a one week-old baby can understand at any level that a twin is going home with mom and she is being left behind. The cenceptual framework, the language abilities, the cognitive abilities... they're just not there yet. I think that giving a child these kinds of reasons as validation for her feelings is harmful because it disregards what is really going on in her life in the present, and in the memorable past. MHO. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar...

dar
post #90 of 122
Thread Starter 
Heartmama, , you have made my day! Your words are so moving, and your descriptions of what my words were trying to convey are right on.

And, know that my heart goes out to you regarding your & your DS's experiences. I know *exactly* what you mean here:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heartmama
"It was a very deep kind of connection, of a shared pain. The way any person might look at you, look away, cringe, break down in tears, then collect themselves and look back at you for a validation over what was revealed, it is just something you intuitively recognize as emotional communication."
Your words break my heart and encourage me. Bless you and your family and everyone everywhere connections are forged in this heartful way.

Yours in spirit,
M&Mmommy
post #91 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by heartmama
~Feel perplexed, confused, or even upset, and don't find the discussion persuasive enough to change that feeling
I know it's even harder for ppl who were raised in a way that never allowed them to cry.
Myself, I was a 'wild child' and it took a long time for my parents to "get it", and once they did, I completely changed from an angry, rageful child, into a human being who could think, feel, and utilyze my intelligence.
After they would hold me and let me cry and rage and listen to me and validate my feelings and fears, I no longer threw tantrums, but was able to think about what exactly was causing my feelings of distress and figure out how to solve the problem.
Many times it was beyond my power, so my mom or dad would hold me and let me cry.

When I had my first child, I did the same thing, and I find when I look back, we have not had the tantrums, the power struggles, etc. that many parents worry about.
post #92 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar
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.

I've always tried to use loving measures to help comfort an older child who was crying, just as I would with an infant. Again, I don't think stopping the crying was ever the issue - the issue is whether or not to comfort, through any means that is effective.

Dar
See, I just don't see that nursing EVERY time a child cries IS helping fix what is wrong. As a matter of fact, I think sometimes it can mask what is wrong.
As I said before, my ds will likely stop crying if I nurse him, whether he wanted to nurse or not, whether it addresses the real reason for crying or not. But that "reason" for the initial crying is still there, and it manifests itself in other ways. Like being fussy/cranky all day, for example. That's not fun for me, and it can't feel good to him. Its still there because *I* focused on the short term- getting the crying to stop (believing that stopping crying = comforting, and a happier baby).
When I focus on the long term, my goal is to "get to the bottom of it," to address the reason. That results in a truly happier child, even if *gasp* he cries for a whole minute without me uncovering my breast. (I'll say again, if he indicates, in any way, that he wants to nurse, I will nurse him immediately. If he's scared, he usually wants to nurse, and has no hesitation in telling me so.)
What's wrong with trusting that ds, at 18 mos, knows if he wants to nurse or not? Why shouldn't I trust that if he doesn't want to nurse, there is something else that *I* need to offer for comfort. Even if he doesn't know exactly what it is that he needs, by nursing to stop the crying, I'm making it less likely that we'll find exactly what he needs.
gg, ds wants to play now
post #93 of 122
Quote:
OTOH, if a baby's needs are being met, I'm not seeing how he will end up with this kind of emotional build-up.
I tried to address this in my post. I would say gently that you have the luxury of thinking this way. Some of the things my son went through as a baby, were so terrible, that just watching them gave *me* post traumatic stress issues. I have studied various therapies that deal with PTS, and I would say that everything in them validates the existence of emotional release crying. There is no scientific study that I have found which proves that infants are incapable of advanced emotional trauma. I have seen no studies which disprove the complexity of the infant brain, and none that justify a simplified or formulatic "if/then" view of emotional trauma in infants.

As I said, the point of this thread won't be to persuade disbelievers, although that would be great. It will give the parents who need it a way to feel helpful and useful to their baby, often for the first time. The feeling of helplessness with this kind of crying can't be overstated. Parents can become so confused and exhausted, they become convinced of their own ineptness, give up, and leave the baby to CIO. The crying is something to be 'endured' and there can come a point where the parent, viewing it this way, finds it unbearable. And even if you don't leave them to CIO, there can be little sense of purpose for the parent as they sit and hold the screaming baby for days and weeks on end~their every thought on what else might be done to comfort and quiet the baby, and their attempts to comfort 'failing' as the baby persists in crying. That prolonged sense of futileness can be very damaging to the parent/ baby bond, even after the crying stops.

What a difference it can make when the parent see's the crying as a positive release, and their presence as supportive and loving! It is like turning on a light. But to do that you have to accept that the crying is good and okay, and accept that just being there is enough, and that is hard to do~especially, as we see in this thread, when people would view 6 hours of crying broken by brief, mostly ineffective attempts to nurse, rock, or sing, as a better choice~ Even when the parent says the quality of their bond dramatically improves, they feel in tune with baby for the first time, and the crying sessions are much shorter, the baby happier, and the bond greater when there are no more attempts at distraction.
post #94 of 122
Quote:
OTOH, if a baby's needs are being met, I'm not seeing how he will end up with this kind of emotional build-up.
I have to admit I am a bit more than slightly offended by the implied not-so-subtle insulting nature of this post. Blessings to you and yours for not having experienced what we, and many mothers who have been so courageous to share their stories here, have.

As Heartmama and other mothers have so eloquently described, it might be that unless you've experienced this for yourself firsthand, this concept may be very difficult to grasp. I am one of those mamas who had an "AHA, thank you so much for sharing this!" moment when reading through these heartbreaking stories of babies experiencing trauma and their subsequent need to process and express their emotions surrounding these events.

It is through our traumatic birth experience and gently, lovingly and intuitively mothering my now 3 month old that I've come to truly understand the astonishingly rich and complex emotional life of an infant. It is through this that I've come to realize that in this culture, babies are often regarded as sub-human, that because they have yet to develop the ability to communicate their full range of thoughts and feelings, that their experiences and emotions can be easily dismissed. And to answer all of the previous questions about how one can differentiate between a cry to fulfill a "need" vs. a cry for emotional healing and release...I know the difference because of my deep connection to my child, my intuition and mama's heart tells me so. I acknowledge that this answer might not be 'good enough' for many, as it certainly isn't 'scientific' or provable. But empirical data be damned I trust above everything else my mother's instinct.

It is my humble opinion that once one has personally experienced this, it would be absolutely impossible to make any correlation between gently, lovingly and with crystal-clear intention supporting our babies through difficult experiences and to help them to heal and release, and Crying-it-Out. I think that there is nothing more in keeping with AP principles than coming to the realization that our babies might have a need to communicate their fears, anger, frustration, and pain through crying and with loving guidance, help them to do so in order to release, heal and move on.

And Heartmama...your writing is brilliant, thank you so much for sharing your story with us and hugs to you and your sweet DS.
Quote:
And that is who threads like this really help. The sensitive, responsive, attentive parent who is learning about their expressive baby, and not finding answers in the black and white threads on crying. I don't care if ten pages of people cast doubtful glances on this topic. Just every so often someone is going to read this and go "Wow, yes, THANK YOU!" and walk away a more confident, capable parent.
I am one of those someones...so "wow, yes, THANK YOU!" to you and all of the other mothers who have shared their stories here.
post #95 of 122
Thanks.

Kidspiration your post brings up another angle to this topic.

The medical field still treats the infant as though they are sub human, and their emotional awareness limited. Withholding of pain relief, surgery without sedation, ignoring cries, these are just some of the things which hospitalized babies endure because of a social perception of them as 'less than' human.

There is no scientific evidence that I have found to support the idea that the emotional life of a baby is less complicated than an adults.

What I have observed in hospitals is this: the moment a child can speak clearly, they are magically elevated in status to a 'real patient'.

If your 2 year old isn't speaking, their cries will be dismissed, no matter how strong. A baby who screams all night but was medically stable, will be described to the parent later as having "had a good night". But if a small child can say clearly "I am very scared right now. I can't sleep unless my mom is here", the nurse will gladly give a kind answer, and typically note the communication and inform the parent of what was said. Possibly, if the parent requested it, the nurse will call them and let them know the child can't sleep unless they come back.

In this thread, the worst a baby will experience from a simplified view of their emotions will be a bit more rocking, singing, or nursing than was wanted.

In the larger context of society, the consequences of simplifying infant emotions are much more painful and dangerous. When we think about the ways that this view can cause an infant real harm, the significance of this topic is much greater.
post #96 of 122
I remember reading this old thread when it was new and just not really getting it.

I think that in the attempt to not have our daughter cry because of having reformed from a CIO background...I might have missed the boat about crying to release stress. She had a truck load of birth trauma and I think at almost age seven it still could be having an effect. We were separated when I was transported to the hospital after our homebirth, also there was birth trauma with a short cord, and placental shredding prior to her birth and she was born with blood in her mouth. Then I hemmorraged and later came close to death during a uterine infection at three weeks postpartum, then we were in a car wreck when she was 5 weeks old, and then I had ppd. Just a tad bit of birth trauma.

The stress could have been reinforced when she was left behind in a car for 20 min and we found her hysterical and trapped unable to get out of the car as a toddler. Years later got diagnosed with illness within months after when I had left her with a her older siblings and grandmother quite a few times over about two months to go do a series of petsitting jobs with my older daughter. Maybe being left behind triggered extra stress. That's one mondo case of separation anxiety.

I think lately especially since she has been sick, I have gone out of my way to distract or even reward her after painful doctor visits to keep her from crying or getting upset at all costs. I didn't want her eyes to get all red, because she has an eye disease and that couldn't be good. Plus she has arthritis and everyone knows stress makes it worse, so I'd been working overtime to keep all stress away from her. And then I wonder why she has this problem with stifling her emotions and keeping them all inside. Gee, maybe she needs a big tantrum.... the release of the seven year tantrum...that's not going to be pretty.

I'm doing a search on cranial sacral for her and birth trauma therapy because her accupunturist suspects birth trauma could be causing her chi not to move, did a search and this thread came up and I saw it in a whole new light.

In light of this....a very enlightening and worth bumping thread!
post #97 of 122
oops double post
post #98 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by M&Mmommy View Post
Dear Mothers,


Third, please understand that I am talking about using *any* method to stop a child or baby from crying - not just nursing for comfort - I'm talking about all the things we have been taught to do to stop the upset. Shushing, bouncing, tickling, distracting, using a pacifier and sometimes even nursing. I think stopping a release of tears via any of the methods above, for the sake of stopping the tears, in a misguided attempt to stop the pain, is short-circuiting the release and healing of the pain.

Finally, let me point everyone to some authors who are better at expressing what I am trying to say. I did a search on Mothering.com and found the following articles in support of listening to babies and children when they are upset and crying rather than distracting them or trying to stop their tears.


http://www.mothering.com/articles/gr.../tantrums.html

http://www.mothering.com/articles/ne...onnection.html

http://www.mothering.com/articles/ne...ion-side1.html

http://www.mothering.com/articles/ne...ion-side2.html

In warm and supportive spirit,
M&Mmommy
Sorry, I've not read through all the replies, but this particular post stood out because it sounds to me like am almost word for word representation of Aletha Solter's approach in Aware Parenting. I've listening to her speak on a couple of occasions and this is the one thing that my gut revolts against every time. I fully understand the theory behind her argument, but it doesn't sit well with me at all.

Yes, there are times that my children just need to be held without shushing or rocking or nursing and be allowed to cry until they've healed, just as I wish I could do that a lot of the time, but I know that there are times they need the extra comfort that nursing or rocking or singing or shushing provides. I'm not trying to stop the tears - I'm trying to help them find comfort and security.

If there's one thing my very spirited DD has taught me it's this: you cannot make a child nurse for comfort when what they need is to be held still or left alone with you sitting nearby. So the times I offer the breast for comfort and she takes it makes me trust that at those times I'm not short-circuiting anything, I'm meeting her needs in the way that works best for her.

And fwiw, she's almost 2 and I still can't tell the difference between her hungry, sad, lonely, scared, discomfort or on overload wail. It all sounds the same to me and always has done. Not for lack of trying on my part or hers either, but she's one of those zero to full on loud wailing in 3 seconds kind of kids. Everything for her is enormous and full on whether it's a speck of dirt on her finger, or she's fallen down and cut her knee, or another child has accidentally brushed her arm when they walk past, or she's had to wait 10 extra seconds for her dinner to be put on the table. I need to actively offer her comfort because until I've done that I don't know if a particular situation warrants leaving her to cry with me sitting next to her or holding her.

I thought that holding and slinging and nursing on demand would bring me babies who don't cry. It seemed to the first time, but the second time I was in for a shock. Dd was and is a crier. I would still never try CIO or anything similar, but it does really bug me when she's been crying for what seems like hours and nothing is comforting her. I don't think I'm frustrated because I've been conditioned to stop a crying baby from making a noise, but because there's an innate desire in me to make sure that my baby is safe and that crying alerts me to the fact that in some way she's not.
post #99 of 122
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I'm not trying to stop the tears - I'm trying to help them find comfort and security.
Kay, I think what you are talking about is attempting to nurse and comfort I think, but if they won't accept just to be with them and comfort them through their big emotions.

This is different from the things we do.

I remember dd being brought to me to nurse when I was very sick, and she wouldn't nurse. My mom and dh would pacify her with a pacifier, or walk with her and bounce her and she would cry and cry. They would shush, and in our house we are expert distracters. Distracting is one of our big parenting tools actually. Even if I attempted to let dd have a tantrum or cry, someone else in the family would come up and distract her. I know, because yesterday I have just been watching how things operate around here to see if the problem is that we do not allow dd the space to express her emotions. And holy heck...I was trying to let her cry and be with her and both Grandma and my 18 year old son both destracted her....very eye opening.

Way back when, while I was sick with ppd, they would leave her with me and she would just lay by me and cry, refuse to nurse, but she had been changed, etc. Dh would say "are you just going to let her cry?" or "come on, get up and do something about it", walk, bounce, pacify, shush...do anything to stop the crying. The attitude was that anything short of not doing all kinds of acrobatics to get the kid quieted down was being neglectful and not taking care of her needs. A need to cry wasn't acknowledged. It was believed that if your child was still crying after being, fed, burped, and changed, you as a parent had not found the solution and needed to keep trying until you found it. To sit with the crying baby would be considered..quitting or giving up or a pathetic excuse of a whimpy lazy parent. One must walk the floor all night, pacing and doing the cradle hold, bouncing and shushing to be doing the proper care of baby.

So the concepts in this thread are a big shift from the "do not let them cry at all costs" camp. Which, actually is how I was raised. The condition of my Mom living where she lived with my Grandma as a single mom was that she was not to hear me cry ever. I can see that this is on the opposite extreme of cry it out and could cause stifled emotions. I don't think I have stifled emotions because I let it all out, anyone whose read my posts I think knows that I'm outspoken. A couple of my children though, they are the types that keep it all their emotions in. In my zeal to not have them cry ever...I guess it explains why I have older kids with lots of big emotions that they need to get out.
post #100 of 122
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Originally Posted by Snooter View Post
I just take issue with saying that offering a breast to your crying baby is stifiling them. If it is what the baby wants, it's what they want and as evidenced by your DC (pp) if they don't want it, they won't take it.
That's my opinion too.
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