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For Crying Out Loud

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  • For Crying Out Loud

    While crying is intended to be purposeful, it can also be stressful. Extended crying is physically exhausting for an infant, consuming large amounts of precious energy. The digestive system is impaired and tensed during crying. Coritsol, the damaging stress hormone, is released into the bloodstream and persists at least 20 minutes after a crying bout has stopped. During crying, an infant's blood pressure rises dramatically and blood oxygen falls. the return of oxygen to the brain is hindered; thus, oxygenation of the brain is diminshied. Crying also suppresses the body's immune system, decreasing its ability to fight infections and weakening its infant defenses. Moreover, prolonged crying continues to perpetuate the sensation of sadness that initiated it.

    It is normal for infants to cry in response to fear, stress, sleepiness, or pain, or when they wish to request food, entertainment, or comfort. Yet, such cries, when frequently unaswered, are responsible for much of the stress that interferes with the attachment process and causes brain cell death, stress control disorganization, adolescent behavior problems, and physical and psychological difficulities in adults. Since crying is exhausting to the infant and mother, both mentally and physically, it is understandable that mothers feel the urge to answer crying quickly. A mother attempting to ignore crying also becomes quickly exhausted because she is being helplessly exposed to prolonged and annoying wails. She also becomes flooded with cortisol. Responsive parenting is best for an infant in terms of immediate safety, health, and comfort, as well as for long-termm development. It is healthier and generally more comfortable for mother, too.

    (pg 62)