I'm just trying to sort this out, as I'm hardly a child development expert.
I've been reading conflicting things about some of the more typical baby-"soothing" techniques and activities. Some seem to think that babies who go to sleep with really loud sounds/music, vigorous movement, etc., are doing so because they are "shutting down" (sort of a very mild going-into-shock) from overstimulation, vs. actually being calmed, per se. That makes some sense to me, as I know (?) babies do sometimes shut down in the face of overstimulation... but honestly, I don't know too much about it. So I guess I'm looking for info on the subject!
I feel like... if I understood more about how and when and why babies "shut down" d/t overstimulation, then I'd be better able to assess whether that might be happening when a baby is, for example, being subjected to really loud white noise and/or swung vigorously (per Happiest Baby on the Block)-- just one example of many, though.
Make any sense? Thoughts? Opinions?
Oooo! Good question. I wonder if that also applies to the very loud sssshhhing in the ear that is a common sleep technique. I have a friend who IS a child development expert. I'll ask her the next time I see her...
That would be GREAT, Mommel! I'm kind of intrigued, yet confused on this point.
Just listening in as I think this is fascinating. Especially the question of the Happiest Baby on the Block "shhhh" sound. My baby always hated this with a passion and if I make the mistake of even uttering a gentle 'shhhh' when he is fussing at the breast he will freak out and start full-on wailing. I know some say that the sound of mama's body is pretty loud while in the womb but it is all insulated/diffused by the bag of waters so I don't totally buy that.
One of the things I'm skeptical about with HBOTB is the idea that veins and arteries make that much noise. Not that the womb isn't overall noisy-- just because, so is the outside world, generally, so it's the same, only muffled... Plus, IDK, maybe there are some internal noises (mom's heartbeat, etc.). But veins and arteries... the supposed "whoosh" of blood flow... that doesn't sound right to me?
As far as HBOTB, swings, etc... I'm not convinced they don't usually "work." They probably usually do. I'm just not certain that's always a good thing, in the long term. I'm also far from certain they do any harm whatsoever. Just looking for some possible answers!
Awesome. I'm not sure if that answers the question or not, but my kid is definitely a gains tension by crying kid... I can nurse him to sleep in about 15-20 minutes, but if I don't get him as soon as I hear a peep, he'll freak the frak out and it will take an hour or more before he calms down. That was really great info, zinemama! Thanks. :)
ETA: I still haven't gotten a hold of my child development expert friend, but I'm working on it. Things have been a little nutty around here.
Hmmm... I don't know what to think about that link. It feels so anecdotal to me... which is fine, but... I'm wondering (honestly wondering, not concluding) just how easy it is to identify kids who "fuss" to sleep to "release tension." A lot of commenters seemed to say things like, "Yes! You are totally describing my tension-releaser! It only took a month of letting him cry himself to sleep for an hour at a time before he became the world's best sleeper!" (i.e., he doesn't cry anymore)
Of course, there were others who described 1-3 minutes of light fussing before falling asleep, and while that has the ring of truth to it, I'm not 110% convinced that's always healthy as described, either. Just don't know.
Regardless, I'm not sure whether the possibly "overstimulating" soothing techniques would be better or worse for which kind of baby (if we're giving credence to the theory).
If you pay close attention to your baby, you can often tell what's going on: are they getting so upset that the shut down? Are they being soothed? Adults have vastly different thresholds for noise, for movement, for roller coasters, for being lulled by a car or feeling ill. When I start shushing my baby, there are days when she snuggles down and slowly goes to sleep, and there are days when she thrashes her arms at me. If it's upsetting her, I stop. On the other hand, when I need to walk her to sleep, sometimes she fights against going into the stroller, but then the moment she's in she quiets down and starts yawning and falls asleep within half a block. (If she doesn't settle down immediately, I take her out and try something else)
But watching the baby is the best way to figure out whether they're being soothed or overstimulated.
IDK, rinap. Maybe. I just get the impression from some that just demonstrating an "off switch" (for example, immediately falling asleep with vigorous rocking) IS shutting down. I don't think I'm talking about fighting something that might be overstimulating-- in that case, it would be clear the child is unhappy (and not shutting down).
I'm talking about babies going to sleep or getting quiet as a way to "get away" from the stimulus (a more dramatic version of when they look away from something overstimulating)-- which I don't think would be a good thing (esp. long term). And I'm not sure how clear it would be from observation of behavior in the moment-- perhaps one needs to know from a developmental standpoint that shutting down is probably what's happening and that it's just not healthy... (if that's the case-- again, I'm just trying to figure it out).
Not to analogize too closely, but I think of when people have their boys circed and then say "he slept all day" or "was so calm afterwards," and anti-circ people (rightly) say those reactions were from shock. So, we know babies can "shut down" in the face of something shocking.
I am just not convinced either way that vigorous movement and/or very loud sounds are either calming or shocking--YK?
Still looking for answers!
Yes, I agree with that... Well, mostly, LOL. Because I also know many people who sing the praises of CIO and talk about hours of crying for months...
Okay... all this discussion has really piqued my curiosity now, so I finally called my child development expert friend and left her a message. She's usually really good about getting back to me, but she's working right now (she works with autistic kiddos in a local public school and just got her Master's in Early Childhood Development), so maybe I'll hear back from her later this evening.
I'll check back when I hear from her on this.