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Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Answer

I have been asked a lot lately why me and my husband do not do the cry-it-out method with our baby. From a random friend, to even one of my sisters. Now no-one is being mean mind you, just curious.  So to save my-self from explaining yet again, I decided to give a answer on here to refer people to.

Since I am not really the best at wording, I found a couple articles that fully explains why we don't believe in cry it out.

emotional health and well-being experts,

You're so right to be alarmed about the negative side effects of letting a baby cry himself to sleep! There is a popular but unrealistic and, ultimately, harmful notion that infants should not bother their parents at night and that responding positively to babies who are having trouble sleeping teaches them to take advantage of their parents' caring and deprives parents of sleep on a regular basis.

Anyone who advises you to let your baby cry until he gives up and falls asleep is focusing on the baby's behavior (going to sleep all alone) and not on how the baby feels in the process. The problem is that when infants are left to cry themselves to sleep, they are forced to conclude that they are not lovable enough to engage their parents' desires to comfort them. If they actually stop crying, it is because they have abandoned all hope that help will come. The meaningful question, then, is not, "What will make my baby go to sleep with the least attention?" but "What will enable my baby to put himself to sleep with the self-confidence that comes from feeling happy and cared about?"

The answer is that if you offer your baby relationship pleasure rather than relationship deprivation, you will help him go to sleep secure in the conviction that you love him and want him to be happy. You can put him down when you think he's sleepy, sing to him, rub his back, or find other ways to comfort him, and then leave the room. If he cries, you can return and calm him and then leave again.

Although in the first year you may have to return many times to your baby's crib to rock him, give him the breast or bottle, or stroke him, your baby will learn both that you can be relied on to respond to his needs and also that he can put himself to sleep in a contented manner (and not out of despair). Over time, as your baby learns that his cries will be responded to, he will need less input from you to feel comforted and sleep.

A baby who is responded to in this way will become a child who is a sound and reliable sleeper; and you will be rewarded with many peaceful nights as the result of your efforts in your baby's first year. Sleep-deprived parents of crying babies often feel very tempted to let their infants cry themselves to sleep so that they, themselves, will be able to get some rest. We ourselves know from experience how exhausted parents of infants can become. But we also know that you will be repaid later for the extra effort you make for your baby now. Your baby cannot perceive that you are tired and need peace and quiet, so when he is left to cry himself to sleep he has to think that you are choosing to leave him feeling helpless and miserable.

Once you see that you were right to worry about leaving your baby to cry and that the interruptions to your sleep caused by tending to him are both beneficial to him and time-limited, then, even though you are tired, you will have more reason to make the effort to go to your baby and try to help him to sleep comfortably.

While our approach to helping babies learn to put themselves to sleep is more time-consuming than the popular prescription to let infants cry, it will make your baby happier now and will also lay the foundation for his future well-being. Just as parents rarely balk when they are told they have to get up in the middle of the night to give children medicine or take their temperatures, we have found that when parents understand the healing they cause by responding to their infants' cries, they usually will accept the interruptions to their sleep as reasonable and necessary. We applaud your wish to help your baby put himself to sleep in a happier way and wish you well.

This article was written by

Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D., and William Joseph Pieper, M.D., each have spent more than two decades practicing psychotherapy with infants, children, adolescents, and adults, counseling parents, and supervising other mental health professionals. Their parenting book, Smart Love: The Compassionate Alternative to Discipline That Will Make You a Better Parent and Your Child a Better Person, was published by Harvard Common Press in March 1999. Smart Love received many prestigious endorsements, including one from Ann Landers, and was named the Best Parenting Book of 1999 by the Association of Independent Publishers. Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D., graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. William J. Pieper, M.D., received his medical and undergraduate degrees from the University of Illinois. The Piepers, who live in Chicago, have a blended family of five children, the youngest of whom is eight years old. 

Another article Written by Dr Sears:

Excessive Crying Could Be Harmful

Science tells us that when babies cry alone and unattended, they experience panic and anxiety. Their bodies and brains are flooded with adrenaline and cortisol stress hormones. Science has also found that when developing brain tissue is exposed to these hormones for prolonged periods these nerves won’t form connections to other nerves and will degenerate. Is it therefore possible that infants who endure many nights or weeks of crying-it-out alone are actually suffering harmful neurologic effects that may have permanent implications on the development of sections of their brain? Here is how science answers this alarming question:
Chemical and hormonal imbalances in the brain
Research has shown that infants who are routinely separated from parents in a stressful way have abnormally high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as lower growth hormone levels. These imbalances inhibit the development of nerve tissue in the brain, suppress growth, and depress the immune system. 5, 9, 11, 16
Researchers at Yale University and Harvard Medical School found that intense stress early in life can alter the brain’s neurotransmitter systems and cause structural and functional changes in regions of the brain similar to those seen in adults with depression. 17
One study showed infants who experienced persistent crying episodes were 10 times more likely to have ADHD as a child, along with poor school performance and antisocial behavior. The researchers concluded these findings may be due to the lack of responsive attitude of the parents toward their babies. 14.
Dr. Bruce Perry’s research at Baylor University may explain this finding. He found when chronic stress over-stimulates an infant’s brain stem (the part of the brain that controls adrenaline release), and the portions of the brain that thrive on physical and emotional input are neglected (such as when a baby is repeatedly left to cry alone), the child will grow up with an over-active adrenaline system. Such a child will display increased aggression, impulsivity, and violence later in life because the brainstem floods the body with adrenaline and other stress hormones at inappropriate and frequent times. 6
Dr. Allan Schore of the UCLA School of Medicine has demonstrated that the stress hormone cortisol (which floods the brain during intense crying and other stressful events) actually destroys nerve connections in critical portions of an infant’s developing brain. In addition, when the portions of the brain responsible for attachment and emotional control are not stimulated during infancy (as may occur when a baby is repeatedly neglected) these sections of the brain will not develop. The result – a violent, impulsive, emotionally unattached child. He concludes that the sensitivity and responsiveness of a parent stimulates and shapes the nerve connections in key sections of the brain responsible for attachment and emotional well-being. 7, 8
Decreased intellectual, emotional, and social development
Infant developmental specialist Dr. Michael Lewis presented research findings at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting, concluding that “the single most important influence of a child’s intellectual development is the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby.”
Researchers have found babies whose cries are usually ignored will not develop healthy intellectual and social skills. 19
Dr. Rao and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health showed that infants with prolonged crying (but not due to colic) in the first 3 months of life had an average IQ 9 points lower at 5 years of age. They also showed poor fine motor development. (2)
Researchers at Pennsylvania State and Arizona State Universities found that infants with excessive crying during the early months showed more difficulty controlling their emotions and became even fussier when parents tried to consol them at 10 months. 15
Harmful physiologic changes
Animal and human research has shown when separated from parents, infants and children show unstable temperatures, heart arrhythmias, and decreased REM sleep (the stage of sleep that promotes brain development). 10 12, 13
Dr. Brazy at Duke University and Ludington-Hoe and colleagues at Case Western University showed in 2 separate studies how prolonged crying in infants causes increased blood pressure in the brain, elevates stress hormones, obstructs blood from draining out of the brain, and decreases oxygenation to the brain. They concluded that caregivers should answer cries swiftly, consistently, and comprehensively. (3) and (4)
  1. P. Heron, “Non-Reactive Cosleeping and Child Behavior: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep All Night, Every Night,” Master’s thesis, Department of Psychology, University of Bristol, 1994.
  2. M R Rao, et al; Long Term Cognitive Development in Children with Prolonged Crying, National Institutes of Health, Archives of Disease in Childhood 2004; 89:989-992.
  3. J pediatrics 1988 Brazy, J E. Mar 112 (3): 457-61. Duke University
  4. Ludington-Hoe SM, Case Western U, Neonatal Network 2002 Mar; 21(2): 29-36
  5. Butler, S R, et al. Maternal Behavior as a Regulator of Polyamine Biosynthesis in Brain and Heart of Developing Rat Pups. Science 1978, 199:445-447.
  6. Perry, B. (1997), “Incubated in Terror: Neurodevelopmental Factors in the Cycle of Violence,” Children in a Violent Society, Guilford Press, New York.
  7. Schore, A.N. (1996), “The Experience-Dependent Maturation of a Regulatory System in the Orbital Prefrontal Cortex and the Origen of Developmental Psychopathology,” Development and Psychopathology 8: 59 – 87.
  8. Karr-Morse, R, Wiley, M. Interview With Dr. Allan Schore, Ghosts From the Nursery, 1997, pg 200.
  9. Kuhn, C M, et al. Selective Depression of Serum Growth Hormone During Maternal Deprivation in Rat Pups. Science 1978, 201:1035-1036.
  10. Hollenbeck, A R, et al. Children with Serious Illness: Behavioral Correlates of Separation and Solution. Child Psychiatry and Human Development 1980, 11:3-11.
  11. Coe, C L, et al. Endocrine and Immune Responses to Separation and Maternal Loss in Non-Human Primates. The Psychology of Attachment and Separation, ed. M Reite and T Fields, 1985. Pg. 163-199. New York: Academic Press.
  12. Rosenblum and Moltz, The Mother-Infant Interaction as a Regulator of Infant Physiology and Behavior. In Symbiosis in Parent-Offspring Interactions, New York: Plenum, 1983.
  13. Hofer, M and H. Shair, Control of Sleep-Wake States in the Infant Rat by Features of the Mother-Infant Relationship. Developmental Psychobiology, 1982, 15:229-243.
  14. Wolke, D, et al, Persistent Infant Crying and Hyperactivity Problems in Middle Childhood, Pediatrics, 2002; 109:1054-1060.
  15. Stifter and Spinrad, The Effect of Excessive Crying on the Development of Emotion Regulation, Infancy, 2002; 3(2), 133-152.
  16. Ahnert L, et al, Transition to Child Care: Associations with Infant-mother Attachment, Infant Negative Emotion, and Cortisol Elevations, Child Development, 2004, May-June; 75(3):649-650.
  17. Kaufman J, Charney D. Effects of Early Stress on Brain Structure and Function: Implications for Understanding the Relationship Between Child Maltreatment and Depression, Developmental Psychopathology, 2001 Summer; 13(3):451-471.
  18. Teicher MH et al, The Neurobiological Consequences of Early Stress and Childhood Maltreatment, Neuroscience Biobehavior Review 2003, Jan-Mar; 27(1-2):33-44.
  19. Leiberman, A. F., & Zeanah, H., Disorders of Attachment in Infancy, Infant Psychiatry 1995, 4:571-587.

Me and my husband both researched deeply in to this topic and came up with one answer that the cry-it-out method is now for our family. We've also consulted our pediatrician, who says that we are doing great with our daughter and her sleep patterns.

What do we do? We comfort her if she is upset during the day and at night, we give our baby a bath, massage, read her a story, sing to her, pray with her, give her a bottle and rock her to sleep. When she awakes she is given a bottle and either rocked back to sleep or comes and sleeps with us. She knows we are always going to be there. We are very much in love with our daughter and don't care or mind how tired we are at the end of the day or night, our daughter needs are more important to us.

I hope I answered some questions, if you don't believe what I have posted, go research yourself. Whats right for my family might not be right for yours. To each his own.


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