Crying is communication
Have you ever been to another country where they don't speak a word of English? Well, imagine that you're in such a country and unable to walk, sit up, get food when you're hungry, much less move your head or see clearly... and you'll start to understand what it's like to be a newborn.
- You can't spoil an infant with love
Remember, the world is highly disorienting and extremely frustrating. You're the only familiar sound and smell that they know... and the one who brings them food. When your baby cries, pick them up and comfort them with love or breastfeeding (depending on what baby wants). It's that simple.
- Infants are not evil geniuses
Infants are not cunning manipulative little creatures who cry "just for attention". When an infant cries they're doing so for a reason. Your baby cries to communicate to you that she or he is in pain, hungry, afraid, upset, uncomfortable, anxious or uncertain. Without language, infants lack the mental capacity to plan much less manipulate others.
- Ignoring your infant's cries carries long-term risks
Long-term exposure to cortisol (the stress hormone) both before and after birth, has been repeatedly correlated with an increased risk of learning delays and mood disorders including depression and anxiety. Leaving your infant to cry in an effort to teach them to self-soothe only causes their cortisol levels to spike and stay dangerously high. Avoid "crying it out" with your child until they are at least a year old.
- Your infant won't learn to "self-soothe" if you ignore their cries
For generations now, mothers have been fighting their own instincts and leaving their poor babes to cry, believing they were helping their infant "learn to self-soothe." In reality, those poor ignored babies were simply learning that their most effective form of communication no longer worked and gave up - after being exposed to traumatically high levels of cortisol for days on end.