No parent likes to hear their baby crying. There’s something so heart wrenching about their wails and sobs and what makes is worse is when you can’t do anything about it. Crying makes the most calm and confident parent feel like a trainwreck.
It also does not help when we get some popular advice like “don’t pick them up!” “let them cry it out!” “they’ll wear themselves out eventually!” While crying it out may work for some parents, many do find it difficult to continue with such routines. And it turns out, that one thing that parents are told to avoid is actually one of the best ways to reduce crying.
Here it is and another method that is proven to reduce crying:
Method 1: Responsiveness
Contrary to the popular advice above, maternal responsiveness has been proven to be the most powerful solution to infants crying. It’s something that you likely already feel, an instinct to respond the moment your baby starts to cry.
Research shows that when mothers responded quickly and consistently to their crying children, this was associated with a decline in frequency and duration of infant crying. Crying is found to be a method of communication from baby to mother, and responsiveness helps the baby develop other, non-crying methods of communication faster.
The world can be scary for newborns who are so used to being with their mothers. Until around 6 months of age, they don’t even realise they are a separate being. So, babies aren’t actually manipulating their parents when they cry — they are in genuine distress. They are not trying to “manipulate” their parents, nor are you “spoiling” them by responding.
A parent’s responsiveness helps their baby to learn to regulate their emotions. This means that your baby will develop the ability to understand that we have control over our emotions. By comforting your baby, you are teaching her that when she is upset, she can calm down. Babies who are not responded to do not learn the same thing.
Method 2: Baby-wearing
A study published in the Pediatrics journal, found that babies who are worn cried a significant deal less, especially during peak periods of fussiness.
“At the time of peak crying (6 weeks of age), infants who received supplemental carrying cried and fussed 43% less overall, and 51% less during the evening hours (4 PM to midnight). Similar but smaller decreases occurred at 4, 8, and 12 weeks of age.”
40-50% is a lot especially for frazzled, exhausted parents. The study further concludes that baby wearing reduces the duration of crying, while the lack of carrying may predispose infants to crying and colic.
Again, very young babies only have crying as a means of communication.They can’t tell us what they need without crying, and typically what they need is the close comfort of mummy or daddy’s arms and the reassuring sound of a heart beating.
Babywearing fosters secure attachments, resulting in confident, self assured little people who feel safe. They know their basic, human needs will be met – they don’t need to fuss and cry for them.