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.
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27-01-2012 15:38 #1
Crying for Comfort: Distressed Babies Need to be Held
27-01-2012 15:51 #2
Thanks for posting that! My bubs have both been reflux, colicky babies who cried a lot. Even though I held them all the time and never left them to cry alone, I always worried that all that crying may have been bad for them, and I would just cuddle them feeling helpless.
It is reassuring to read that crying in arms is not harmful, and may be beneficial. This had been weighing on my mind a lot over the years.
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27-01-2012 15:56 #3
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27-01-2012 16:08 #4
I've always felt this intuitively. Glad there's something to back it up
27-01-2012 16:17 #5
Yeah I sort of reached that point a bit with jasper where no matter what I did, rocked, fed, sung, fed, rocked, bounced, begged, he'd still cry for hours. No reflux etc. so I reached the point where I knew as long as I was holding him, still swaying & singing as it made ME feel better, he was okay & knew I was there and I loved him, but if he needed to cry there was nothing I could do to stop him. It did take the stress out for me a bit. It's still pretty overwhelming though.
Now if he's crying about not getting his own way it doesn't mean he gets what he wants, I don't try to suppress the crying, but I always hold him until he stops. Though sometimes when he keeps whining I tell him mummy will keep holding him but he doesn't need to keep making that sound. (it's like he just keeps going because he forgets to stop)
27-01-2012 16:19 #6
Though I'm really hoping little miss isn't as stressy as jasper was as a baby!
27-01-2012 16:52 #7Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2011
I definitely agree with the value of crying out stress while being lovingly held, particularly for older babies and children. I do have reservations about the advice to schedule young babies feeds and not feed to sleep to prevent babies suppressing their emotions given by many proponents of this approach. I think it can definitely be taken too far and lose touch with what babies really need to thrive - responsive, contingent care. I also disagree with the premise that Attachment Parenting is focussed on minimising crying. My perception is that it is focussed on being in tune with and responsive to your baby, in which case it should be evident when they are in need of being lovingly held while they cry. As Mrs Molly Coddle has said, this is something that can be felt intuitively if you're in touch with and responsive to your babies needs. I find the crying in arms approach really interesting so I've done quite a lot of research on it and found lots of opinion pieces on its value but no actual research to back it up. Nevertheless, as others have said, it is self evident that it can be very theraputic for some babies. My concern is that for some people the crying seems to become an ends in itself and websites like "Parenting with Presence" advocate putting your baby down or strapping them in a carseat to help them "release"
27-01-2012 16:54 #8
Thanks for posting OP. DS is almost 10 months and as he's been getting older there are more episodes of inconsolable, angry, crying. I put it down to frustration and I've been holding him through it. Glad to see I'm doing the right thing.
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27-01-2012 17:11 #9Senior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
Great link - thanks for posting.
27-01-2012 17:27 #10
As others have said, I feel both validated and comforted to read this. I was still bfing DD to sleep when she weaned suddenly while I was pregnant so she was all at sea as to how to get to sleep so we had a fair bit of crying to sleep on me.
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