I posted this in another thread, I read it a while ago and I found it really interesting re: crying in arms and stress relief for the baby. I've only quoted this part as the article is quiet long but well worth the read.
The Recognition of Stress-Release Crying
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.
Many psychotherapists recognize the therapeutic value of crying and encourage their clients to cry. There is a current trend toward deep-feeling therapies (sometimes known as "regression therapy," "primal therapy," or "emotional release therapy") in which therapists encourage clients to relive early childhood traumatic experiences, and to cry and rage.6-8 The therapists assume that people who did not feel safe enough to cry as children can "catch up" on their crying later in life and heal themselves from the effects of early traumatic experiences.
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.
Researchers have measured physiological changes in adults following therapy sessions in which they cried hard. The results showed lower blood pressure and body temperature, slower heart rate, and more synchronized brain-wave patterns. This state of physiological relaxation was greater following crying than following physical exercise for an equivalent period of time.9 Biochemical studies have discovered greater concentrations of stress hormones in emotionally induced tears than in irritant-induced tears, leading to the theory that one purpose of crying is to rid the body of excessive amounts of these hormones.10 It is obvious that, when we cry, something important happens.
A growing number of psychologists believe that the healing function of crying begins at birth, and that stress-release crying early in life will help prevent emotional and behavioral problems later on.11-14 However, babies should never be left to cry alone. This healing process will be effective only if babies are allowed to cry in the safety and comfort of a parent's loving arms. When toddlers and older children cry or have temper tantrums, it is still important to stay close and be attentive, even when holding may not always be appropriate.
The stress-release function of crying in restoring emotional health is comparable to the beneficial function of fever in fighting an infection and restoring physical health. Wise doctors know that it is often best to let a fever run its course rather than use drugs to cut it artificially short.15 Stress-release crying and fever both help children (and adults) regain homeostasis. There is no easy shortcut to emotional or physical health.
Took the red pill.