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#1 of 36 Old 06-20-2010, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have any of you read this book? I checked it out from the library and I am not sure how I feel about it. The basic premise is that babies need to cry to blow off steam and get their emotions out. The author thinks that by doing everything we can to stop the crying that we are actually harming our babies. She is against pacis, comfort nursing, and doesn't think that babies should be shushed or rocked when they are crying. She says they should just be held in loving arms and listened to until they are done. She claims this helps them work through birth and other traumas and burn nervous energy, and shows them they are loved even when they are upset and crying.

I don't know how I feel about this. It sort of makes sense to me but I always have tried whatever I can think of to stop DS crying episodes. And something always worked. Last week I tried a couple times just holding him and reassuring him that I was listening while he cries, but ended up patting him or changing his position almost like a reflex. The one time I held him until he stopped without doing anything else, he fell into a deep sleep immediately after. But something didnt feel right about not doing everything I can to comfort him.

What do you think about this idea? Do babies need to cry sometimes without being encouraged to stop? By shushing and otherwise comforting them are we forcing them to suppress their emotions? She encourages allowing them to cry in arms from birth on btw.

I am new at being a momma and would appreciate any insight on this
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#2 of 36 Old 06-20-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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I think that sometimes, yes, they need to cry and just have someone there to listen. But, I think you should try other things first - I mean, what if he's hungry? Or his diaper is dirty? There were times that my DS was crying at bedtime and wouldn't go to sleep, and when we checked his diaper after a few minutes we realized it was dirty.

If you've tried everything, and nothing is working, then just letting them cry while you hold them is a good thing I think.
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#3 of 36 Old 06-20-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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It's instinctual to lovingly soothe your crying baby. We're biologically made to respond in this way. I wouldn't worry about it.
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#4 of 36 Old 06-20-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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I figure if I can make DS better by comforting him, that's what he needed. But sometimes he also needs to cry, and when that's the case my comforting him does't work and I just hold him and sympathize. Then he knows I'm there and love him.

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#5 of 36 Old 06-20-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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If a baby needs to cry to work out the overwhelming emotions of a busy day, rocking and singing and so forth won't stop the crying. What it will do is give mom or dad something to occupy them while holding the baby so THEY don't get overwhelmed and need to put the baby down.

It can also mean the difference between a healing cry and the baby making themselves feel worse and getting more and more worked up and screaming. A good hard cry can feel great, but if all it's doing is making you cry more and hurt your throat, it's not helpful.

I think the main message from the book shouldn't be "don't do anything to stop your baby crying" but rather "if you've done all the 'right' things and your baby is still crying, it's okay"
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#6 of 36 Old 06-20-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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I figure if I can make DS better by comforting him, that's what he needed. But sometimes he also needs to cry, and when that's the case my comforting him does't work and I just hold him and sympathize. Then he knows I'm there and love him.
This exactly. Sometimes Cecilia just needs to cry to get her frustration out, since she can't express it any other way. But I want her to always know I'm there for her and will be there to support her even when she just needs to cry. Not holding and cuddling her during that time would be CIO to me, and I'm certainly not interested in that.

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#7 of 36 Old 06-20-2010, 10:22 PM
 
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I can see how that might make sense but it seems like something to be taken with a grain of salt. Maybe among the other things you try, you just let them cry in your arms to get out their frustrating but I can't imagine NOT trying comfort your crying child - what if they are hungry or need a diaper change or just to change positions and burp? I think that sometimes babies DO need to cry out frustration/tension/whatever but only after you have exhausted other options or your mommy instinct is telling you this is what your baby needs

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#8 of 36 Old 06-20-2010, 10:30 PM
 
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I agree there's a little useful take away from this, but only when everything seems to be okay with the baby and they're still crying. I think there was a post on the forums here a few months ago that made me realize that instead of immediately trying to stop the crying, I should take his "concerns" seriously, but by acknowledging them verbally and giving him the chance to get them off his chest (as much as a baby can!), but I do this WHILE comforting him. I feel like it's helping train *me* to be sensitive to his thoughts and feelings now so that when he is verbal, I'll be in the habit of it, while also maybe helping him feel like I'm listening and commiserating. But comforting and doing my best to fix whatever's wrong comes first...it was more a realization that baby's have a right to cry to express themselves, and it's not my job to keep him from crying all at, just to respond to it when he does cry.

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#9 of 36 Old 06-21-2010, 09:45 AM
 
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i disagree with that theory.
i think that babies tend to cry to communicate. they want or need something, whether it's to be held, fed, etc. and that is the only way to get a response.
i think that not answering your baby's attempt at communication can then make the baby out of control with crying from frustration.
like a pp said, if you try to soothe and the baby keeps crying, then maybe it's a release. otherwise, i tend to view cries as communication. our dd doesn't cry much anymore b/c we respond to cues, which we learned by responding to cries.

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#10 of 36 Old 06-21-2010, 10:34 AM
 
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I dunno, I didn't read the book and don't plan to. But from what it sounds like to me it sounds like putting grown up ideas on to a baby. I think it is true that adults and perhaps sometimes older kids do need a space to let out frustrations, I think that when a baby cries it is because they have a basic need that needs to be met. The whole idea of what this book is professing makes me feel squeamish, quite honestly!
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#11 of 36 Old 06-21-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by hildare View Post
i disagree with that theory.
i think that babies tend to cry to communicate. they want or need something, whether it's to be held, fed, etc. and that is the only way to get a response.
i think that not answering your baby's attempt at communication can then make the baby out of control with crying from frustration.
like a pp said, if you try to soothe and the baby keeps crying, then maybe it's a release. otherwise, i tend to view cries as communication. our dd doesn't cry much anymore b/c we respond to cues, which we learned by responding to cries.


My DD only cries when something is wrong or she has a need.

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#12 of 36 Old 06-21-2010, 12:36 PM
 
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I do believe that sometimes babies have to let off steam or have emotional outbursts, after all they are human and we all have to do that sometimes. Yell, scream, maybe rant a bit, BUT all the time, ummmmmm no.

For me my DD had some moments where she was just letting off steam, she is more emotional than my son, maybe because she's a girl? I mean as a woman I know I am much more emotional about some things than DH. DS is more opt to cry if he's not getting his immediate needs met-immediately. DD would cry sometimes and nothing helped her, so I can see how the theory would work for some babies.

Crying is communication, and some of babies are more vocal of their needs and wants-even if isn't anything more than just to vent.

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#13 of 36 Old 06-21-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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I guess I don't get it. Bouncing, shushing, hugging and sucking are all sensations experienced by the fetus in the womb, and by giving them those sensations you are recreating a safe place for them where they can relax and feel peaceful and calm.

It seems fairly cruel to deny them those things in an attempt to help them cope with the stresses of life without crutches. I think there is a big difference between supressing an emotion and soothing a frazzled set of nerves.

It seems contradictory to my instincts.

That being said, I think most people here can tell you about the abuse of "soothers" in our society. It often seems to be that "keep the baby quiet at all costs" is the primary function of all parents. Loud babies, even the happy ones, are "bad babies". So I think I can see where the author is coming from, but I don't think it's for me.

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#14 of 36 Old 06-21-2010, 02:14 PM
 
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I don't know. . .. as a newborn my ds did cry a fair bit even as we paced the floor and did everything we could to comfort him. But it still didn't seem right to me. .. he seemed unhappy and I wasn't okay with that. We found out a month or so later that he had a dairy sensitivity, so I think his tummy was just hurting him a lot. Not that this is the case for every babe, but it confirmed my mommy instinct that he was crying b/c something was wrong, not just to communicate or to let off steam.

Once we eliminated dairy he almost never cried. Only when something was really wrong. Now he is almost 9 months, learning to crawl, having some separation anxiety, and he does "complain" now. Not exactly a full-out cry, but he whines when I leave the room or when I take away something he's found on the floor to chew. . .so this seems different to me. This is more of a communication that he is frustrated and I do reassure him, but he is also at a stage where he is just going to be frustrated sometimes.

But I think I know the difference btw frustration and crying b/c something is wrong. I'd have to say that its like with any parenting advice. . .you still have to listen to your gut and to your own child. Not all children are going to fit into a particular theory.

As for the idea that adults "need" to cry to let off steam. . .I'm not so sure about this either. Of course, if something truly sad happens you need to cry, but I find that crying out of frustration or anger is counter-productive. I often feel worse. Its better to find a real solution/outlet for those feelings, IMO

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#15 of 36 Old 06-21-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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I read it when my 4.5 year old was a baby. It was sort of a mixed bag for me.

On the positive side, it did help me accept that my baby might just need to cry sometimes, and that's okay. I think before that I sort of felt like a failure if she cried and I couldn't stop it. But it made me realize that she's a complex little being that isn't going to me all smiles all the time, and that I need to respect her right to have negative emotions. This concept has been really helpful even beyond babyhood.

On the negative side, I was not a fan of the advice not to comfort nurse, or rock, or whatever, but rather simply hold my crying baby as long as I had determined she had all her basic needs met (dry, fed, etc.). That just didn't click with me. It felt contrived, cold, and unnatural and went against every instinct I had. If I knew she would stop crying if I nursed her, who the heck was I to decide that isn't want she needed? What they want and what they need at that age are the same thing to me.

Anyway, it just seemed like such a contradictory book to me because it seemed to advocate for listening to what your baby is telling you on one hand but basically not listening to them on the other. I had a hard time reconciling those two issues.
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#16 of 36 Old 06-21-2010, 06:49 PM
 
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#17 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 05:51 PM
 
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I read the book when ds1 (almost 6yo) was a baby. I really liked it, and thought it made sense in a lot of ways.

My own thinking on "letting a baby cry" is a little bit different. I see it like this- when my babies cry, I want to fix the underlying reason. My goal isn't exactly to get them to stop crying, it's to address the reason they are crying.
Just as an example, if ds is crying and I don't know why, I could get him to stop crying if I gave him a cookie. But that would be distracting him out of crying, and not addressing the reason he was crying at all. To me, that scenario is far from ideal.

I do think that sometimes, letting them cry is better than fussing with them, going from tactic to tactic, anxiously searching for something that will make them stop. For example, when ds1 was little, he would sob uncontrollably if someone other than me reprimanded him. People always tried to distract him/ make funny faces/etc to get him to stop crying. But actually, what helped the most was for me to hold him, talk quietly, sway with him, and just wait it out in private.

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#18 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 07:48 PM
 
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I've read the book as well, and I never took from it that she meant you should just let babies cry, uncomforted. Granted, it's been about 10 years since I read it, but the biggest thing that stuck with me was that I shouldn't be all desperate to stop their tears at any cost. It's OK for a baby to cry and the baby doesn't have to "justify" it to me, just like it's OK for me to have a good cry sometimes without feeling like I have to explain it to someone or stop for their sake. That doesn't mean I withhold affection or put the baby down and walk out of the room-- it just means I don't always have to go through a bag full of tricks and feel like if the baby doesn't stop crying, it's some kind of reflection on me as a mother. I actually think it gels quite nicely with Dr. Sears "You can't always stop them from crying, but you can make sure they don't cry alone" spiel.

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#19 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 08:16 PM
 
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But if I recall correctly the author states specifically that you shouldn't even do simple comforting things like rocking, swaying, patting or bouncing for fear that you will stifle the child's emotions and set up a "control pattern" or some such term. That just doesn't jive with AP to me.

I totally get the whole the message about not freaking out when babies cry. Sometimes even if all their basic needs have been met, it just happens and all you can do is be there for them. It's the advice to basically withhold comfort other than holding them that bothers me. Personally, I found Happiest Baby on the Block to be a godsend and am glad I followed that advice instead.
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#20 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 08:18 PM
 
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Well, as I said, it's been a while. I don't remember taking that from the book.

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#21 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 08:20 PM
 
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I found this article by Aletha Solter on Mothering:
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While the attachment parenting approach is a healthy trend in the right direction, it is possible that, in an effort to counteract the harm caused by the cry-it-out approach, parents may overlook an important function of crying. In our eagerness to persist in soothing and hushing our babies, we may be missing opportunities to help them release stress and heal from trauma. Although it is stressful for babies to cry alone, there is no evidence that crying in a parent’s arms is harmful, once all immediate needs are met. On the contrary, crying in arms can be beneficial for babies who have an accumulation of stress.
and
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Our culture tends to block and suppress the healthy expression of deep emotions. Some adults remember being punished, threatened, or even abused when they cried as children. Others remember their parents using kinder methods to stop them from crying, perhaps through food or other distractions. This early repression of crying could be one factor leading to the use of chemical agents later in life to repress painful emotions. The goal of deep-feeling therapy is to help adults overcome the inhibition against crying, thereby allowing them to cry as much as needed in a supportive environment with an attentive, empathic listener.
and finally
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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 cry.
To me, this isn't saying "don't comfort." Rather it's saying, when comforting doesn't work, don't freak out.

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#22 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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Too bad I sold the book at a yard sale or I could reference it.
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#23 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 09:05 PM
 
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I have strong doubts that the human species (2-3 million years?) would have survived if babies were meant to cry for longer than to alert their mothers (or a caregiver) that they had a primal need that had to be met (nourishment, warmth, safety).

It likely would have been a liability to have a crying baby in more dangerous times. From what I have read, allowing a baby to cry became a trend in the western industrialized world in the last century.

In other words, I do believe that it is unnatural, and goes against biology to allow a baby cry.

To me it would seem that the maternal instinct to answer baby's call is very strong for reason of survival. To try to change that may be very stressful for mother and baby.
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#24 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 09:09 PM
 
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I've had 4 babies and I can pretty much guarantee that they all, at some point, have cried whether I've "allowed" it or not. I think it's a function of the role of mother guilt in our society to make mothers feel inadequate when they can't stop their babies from crying. Our culture likes quiet cute babies who don't make a lot of noise, and making moms feel like they have to stop their babies from crying at all costs is a pretty good way to achieve this.

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#25 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 09:21 PM
 
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My first baby cried a lot, and sometimes when there was nothing wrong. I would do everything I could to soothe her, but sometimes there was no way to relieve her crying. I changed my attitude about those times from "my job is to stop her from crying" to "my job is to stop her from having to cry alone." Changing my attitude during that colicky phase helped save my sanity. That's the message take from it, that if your baby doesn't stop crying when you've tried everything, don't worry, just hold your baby and love her and help her get through it comforted by loving arms. That your comforting actions are still helping your baby even if she won't stop crying. As opposed to "She didn't stop crying so I gave up and just put her in her crib since there was nothing wrong with her." I guess I think of it as the opposite of that thought pattern. There might not be anything physically wrong, but there still could be sadness or something and loving someone through sadness as they cry is powerful.

My second baby only cries if something is bothering her so I've seen that too.
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#26 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 09:59 PM
 
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That's the message take from it, that if your baby doesn't stop crying when you've tried everything, don't worry, just hold your baby and love her and help her get through it comforted by loving arms.
See, that's the philosophy I take from her work... but I think it sometimes gets interpreted as "I've tried these things and baby is still trying so I'm going to assume baby needs to cry instead of also trying these other things". I have a hard time justifying (to myself) not doing something that I know works, like comfort nursing. If it doesn't work, ok, but at least I've tried it.

Also I think it can be a bit blurry when you consider how much children change in the first few months and years. If my 4mo is crying I do everything I can to soothe them because I don't know for sure what is causing the cry. If they are still crying after I've tried everything then I hold them and they cry... but if my 2yo is crying I generally have a pretty good idea of what is causing it and I can make a more informed decision about what my response should be.

So maybe I'm comfortable with her underlying philosophy for a young babe, and comfortable with her specific suggestions for a slightly older child? It's been a while since I read her book!

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#27 of 36 Old 06-22-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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Well I would certainly disagree if she's suggesting not offering comfort nursing, or for that matter not checking the diaper and if the baby is dressed comfortably for the weather and every other thing that can cause discomfort, and assume that the baby just needs to cry. I think of it as being an "if all else fails" thing. Sometimes I do think they're just going to cry, and it's better if they're held during that time then just left somewhere to cry, but by all means make sure there isn't a physical problem first. Check and double check.
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#28 of 36 Old 06-23-2010, 11:44 AM
 
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I can't stop thinking about this...I really should just ask my SIL to bring me a copy and find out for myself...

Just out of curiosity, for those who have read the book, if she is against comfort nursing and pacifier usage because she feels it leads to unhealthy oral fixations/addictions later in life, how does she feel about finger sucking? How does she suggest dealing with babies that offer themselves that comfort?

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#29 of 36 Old 06-23-2010, 11:54 AM
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ok...so what do you all think of this scenario in light of the discussion.

so i was sub-ing in the baby room of a preschool. when this 5 mo started crying i picked him up and was swaying with him when his regular teacher told me that "he doesn;t go for any of that" and just to put him in the swing. i did and yeah, he stopped crying.
so which do you all think is better in this situation: that the baby stop crying or that he be held by an actual human?

Reluctant 'Sconie, chassid and mama to sweet toughie Ada Bluma 9/9/09 and loving pittie-mix ("Judge the deed, not the breed!")
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#30 of 36 Old 06-23-2010, 12:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzs View Post
ok...so what do you all think of this scenario in light of the discussion.

so i was sub-ing in the baby room of a preschool. when this 5 mo started crying i picked him up and was swaying with him when his regular teacher told me that "he doesn;t go for any of that" and just to put him in the swing. i did and yeah, he stopped crying.
so which do you all think is better in this situation: that the baby stop crying or that he be held by an actual human?
i'd tend to interpret that as the lo was trying to communicate his desire to be put into the swing... maybe he just really likes it!

Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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