If you’re questioning the rightness of your desire to pick up your baby when he cries, or lie beside him as he falls to sleep, read this.
“He’s got you wrapped around his little finger.” “She’ll never learn if you do whatever she demands.” “He needs to learn to self-settle.”
These are phrases every new parent is inundated with by well-meaning strangers. Despite the journey to becoming parents being one filled with much anticipation and joyful excitement, we live in a world that seemingly undervalues normal physiological behaviour in babies, and places way too much emphasis on the quest for them to be independent in their own entities. We are warned of creating “bad habits” with our children by being there for them when they need us, and we are chastised for wanting our babies in our beds near us at night time or for feeding overnight.
A new study offers more reason not to practice “crying it out” with babies.
Researchers at the University of North Texas monitored the cortisol levels of crying babies and their mothers over five nights when the infants were undergoing sleep training in order to learn to “self-settle.”
The researchers found high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in both the mothers and the babies during the times the babies were crying. After several days, the babies learned to go to sleep without crying.Researchers found that during these quiet nights, the mothers no longer had high cortisol levels but the babies’ cortisol levels remained high. They had merely learned to remain quiet while distressed. (click link above to read the article)
Mainstream parenting media are asserting once again that the cry-it-out sleep paradigm is harmless to babies—this time in the form of a two-paragraph morsel as one of the “sleep myths” Parentsmagazine “sets straight” in “Rest Assured” (July 2014 issue). The myth is listed as “crying it out is bad for your baby” and goes on to conclude that au contraire, “whatever sleep training method feels most comfortable for you is just fine.” Never mind how the baby feels. “Just fine”? Yikes! Parents typically does an excellent job educating and supporting parents to raise healthy, happy kids. But alarm bells went off for us when we read this lapse. (click link above to read the article on psychologytoday.com)
We should understand the mother and child as a mutually responsive dyad. They are a symbiotic unit that make each other healthier and happier in mutual responsiveness. This expands to other caregivers too. (click to read on psychologytoday.com)
Some public health messages everyone can agree with: Never drink and drive. Always put your infant in a car seat. Other public health messages seem to ask us to do the impossible: Teenagers must never have sex. Mothers must never share a bed with their infants.
Advice around the U.S. urges parents never to bed share, reinforced by the official stance of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Scary ads abound. One ad shows a queen-sized bed with a headstone in place of headboard reading “For too many babies last year, this was their final resting place.” Another shows a baby in an adult bed with a meat cleaver, stating “Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous,” and another ad says “Your baby belongs in a crib, not a casket.”
(click link above to read an interesting post on Huffington Post)