The Kidz are People Too Page. . . . . . . . . .Caring for an Infant Index
Infants Index New Parents Babywearing Crying Family Bed Breastfeeding Discipline Diapers Care Tips Links

[caring for an infant]

A Baby's Cries


"'As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you...'" ~ Isaiah 66:13a (English-NIV)
"Crying is as good for the lungs as bleeding is for the veins." ~ Dr. William Sears, The Fussy Baby, page 63

". . . crying has been found to be physiologically detrimental to the new infant. Large fluctuations in blood flow occur during extended crying periods, decreasing cerebral oxygenation and causing an increase in cerebral blood volume. crying babyAs a result, rising blood pressure increases intracranial pressure, putting baby at risk for an intracranial hemorrhage. Meanwhile, oxygen-depleted blood flows back into the systemic circulation rather than into the lungs (Anderson, GC)." ~ excerpted from Examining the Evidence for Cue feeding of Breastfed Infants by Lisa Marasco, BA, IBCLC and Jan Barger, MA, RN, IBCLC

"A mother is ridiculed for wanting to pick up her crying baby. Yet, this response to a call, the concern for her offspring, is an action that comes from the very depth of her motherhood." ~ excerpted from An Oversight of Our Culture By Tine Thevenin


Ellen crying
Waaaaaaaah!! You
disturbed my beauty sleep!

See Ellen as a toddler

The way I see it, when our children are crying they are almost certainly trying to tell us something. It may be that they're hungry. It may be that their diaper needs changing. They may be afraid, or maybe they just need to be picked up & snuggled just to remind them that they're safe in this scary new world. The last thing I want my children to learn is that their needs don't matter. I want them to know that there is nothing too big or too small to come to me for.

-Elisa C.

My Thoughts

Have you ever heard the old sayings that "babies need to cry to exercise their lungs" or "your're going to spoil him by picking him up every time he cries--he's just trying to manipulate you"? They are myths, and contrary to what these statements try to make us believe, babies cry to communicate their needs. If they hurt, they cry. If they miss the closeness they were so used to for nine months (and why shouldn't they miss it??), they will cry. Babies need closeness and warmth, love and nurturing.

If a mom holds herself back from comforting her child because she fears she might spoil him, his crying will most likely escalate. His blood pressure will rise. He may become hysterical... and very hard to comfort. This type of crying causes extreme frustration in those who hear it, not to mention being frightening, exhausting, and potentially dangerous to a baby.

Whereas if a mom follows her heart and immediately tries to comfort her crying baby and meet his needs, her baby will be more responsive to her care. Responding quickly to a baby's cries has been shown to reduce the amount of crying a baby does. A quick response helps your baby learn to trust you, and teaches you to be sensitive to your baby's needs.

If you respond quickly to your baby's cries, and he still cries a lot, you may start to worry that you are spoiling your baby or that there is something wrong with you or your baby. If you know that your baby does not have a medical problem that makes him cry a lot, then worry no more. . . . You probably have been blessed with a high-need baby. Striving to meet his needs will forge a strong attachment between you and your baby and will help him feel as contented as possible. This will encourage your baby to meet his full potential.

Since a crying baby is trying to communicate his needs to you, perhaps your goal should not be to stop the crying, but to meet your baby's needs. Sometimes that need is a shoulder to cry on. Be there for your baby!! Maybe some of my hints for Calming a Fussy Baby will help you!

Unanswered Cries Can Lead to Hopelessness

In Suzanne Arms' book Immaculate Deception II, she explains how in the 1970s Dr. T. Berry Brazelton studied newborns to see whether they could feel hopeless or depressed. In the following quote from page 186, Arms tells of a study that Dr. Brazelton did in which he videotaped babies crying in order to get the attention of their moms, and, eventually, when this failed, their descent into hopelessness:
In a heartrending series of videotaped sessions, each baby can be seen crying to elicit a response from its mother and, failing to do so, working even harder. After a number a minutes of making all kinds of faces and trying to make eye contact, each baby finally reaches its level of tolerance and begins to look away from the mother, finding it too difficult to continue making an effort with no response. The baby eventually turns it sic face away from its mother's face. Then it turns toward the mother again and tries to rouse a response. Each time it turns away for longer and longer periods. Finally, each baby slumps down, drops its head, and shows all the signs hopelessness.

Mama! I'm hungry!!! For more
of this adorable baby, see
Michelle's Scrap Book!

Links to Other Sites

(Click on your browser's "back" button to return to this page.)

A Baby Cries: How Should Parents Respond? by Jan Hunt, M.Sc.

Don't Ignore Your Baby's Cries, by Marnie Larsen Ko.

Why is My Baby Crying?, by Marnie Larsen Ko.

The (Un)Official Parent-l FAQ and Survival Guide for High Need, Colicky and Fussy Babies

Cluster Feeding and Fussy Evenings or "My Baby Nurses and Fusses All Evening! What's Wrong?" by Kelly

Parents' Homepages Here is a list of annotated links to the homepages of other parents who practice responsive parenting.

Helpful Books

Crying Baby, Sleepless Nights by Sandy Jones, copyright 1992, The Harvard Common Press. Buy now!!
The Fussy Baby: How to Bring Out the Best in Your High-Need Child (A La Leche League International Book) by William, M.D. Sears Buy now!!

Teething Helps

Hyland's Teething Tablets bring teething relief to many babies. I buy mine at a local healthfood store. I also bought them once at a drugstore called "Pay Less."

Somtimes I use Chamomilla. The bottle states that it "helps to relieve pain of earache, teething, colic, or fever in children." It's helpful if Ellen is extra fussy. The directions for use are on the bottle. It is in liquid form, and you give it to your baby with a dropper. Ellen seems to enjoy it.

Letting your baby chew on a clean, damp wash cloth can meet two needs--1) it can help a teething baby's gums feel better (You might want to try freezing the wash cloth.) and 2) it can help clean your baby's teeth and gums (This is especially helpful for a baby who really struggles against his teeth being brushed.)
--advice from my dentist's receptionist!

According to Beyond Antibiotics: 50 Ways to Boost Immunity and Avoid Antibiotics by Michael A. Schmidt, Lendon H. Smith, and Keith W. Sehnert (a very good book, by the way!!),

Tea tree oil, or Melaleuca alternifolia, can be rubbed on the gums several times each day as needed to help ease pain. It is also antibacterial and antiviral and may help prevent opportunistic infections that sometimes accompany teething.

It also suggets the following: "Massaging the point He gu, or LI-4, located in the web between the thumb and forefinger on the back of the hand, can help relieve discomfort associated with teething."

"Your choice is whether you will adopt a servant attitude towards your baby and express a Christ-like authority by ministering to them sacrificially, or whether you will try to express an ungodly authority by 'lording it over' your newborn and ignoring their cries of distress." Rebecca Prewett in Boot Camp for Babies.

Infants Index New Parents Babywearing Crying Family Bed Breastfeeding Discipline Diapers Care Tips Links

[Pregnancy] [Childbirth] [Breastfeeding] [Infants] [Toddlers] [Parenting Resources]
[Where to Buy] [Health] [Protecting Children] [Free Graphics] [Awards]
[Home] [Table of Contents] [Webrings] [Who am I?] [GeoCities]

Copyright 1996-1999 by mykidzmom

The Kidz are People Too Page