Forget self-soothing, babies should never be left to cry on their own, claim scientists.
Up until now, parents have been led to believe they’re ‘spoiling’ their little ones or ‘making it harder for themselves’ by picking them up to soothe them when they are in distress – but they’re actually making them better adults, new research has shown.
Crying leads to stress
The University of Notre Dame’s Department of Psychology studied 600 adults and found that those who were cuddled as children grew up to be healthier, kinder, less depressed and more empathetic as adults.
“What parents do in those early months and years are really affecting the way the brain is going to grow for the rest of their lives, so lots of holding, touching and rocking, that is what babies expect,” lead author, Professor Darcia Narvaez told Tribune Media.
“They grow better that way. And keep them calm, because all sorts of systems are establishing the way they are going to work. If you let them cry a lot, those systems are going to be easily triggered into stress.
“We can see that in adulthood, that people that are not cared for well, tend to be more stress reactive and they have a hard time self-calming.”
This study has been backed up by paediatrician Dr Armeet Singh, who says: “The first four to six months of life for babies, that is one of the most important times for babies to develop that special bonding with their parents and their primary caregivers.
“Now those are the times where definitely we encourage families that at any point of time they are crying, they are looking for somebody to help them out we need to respond to that.”
If your baby is crying all the time then this can put a lot of stress of you and everyone in your household, here are some tips on how to deal with your little one’s tears.
Meanwhile, here are five things that really help calm a crying baby.