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Do You Let Your Baby ‘Cry it Out? New Research Suggests You Shouldnt

Crying baby

Human babies are hardwired for near-constant holding, according to new research

Crying it out. It’s the thing that allows so many moms to catch some shuteye, shower, eat a meal with two hands or even just got to the bathroom. The baby will survive, right?

Well, it’s actually kind of wrong. A new article in Psychology Today (via Yahoo Shine) based on research from Harvard and Yale medical schools suggest that when babies are stressed, their bodies release a hormone that can damage or destroy part of their tiny, still-developing brains.

Go ahead. Chew on that piece of information and then, yes, cry it out.

The report talks about how babies “crave the physical connection that comes with a cuddle.” Many sleep experts have long advocated for the “cry it out” method whereby parents try to get their babies to learn to self-soothe instead of rushing to pick them up when they’re crying.

As it turns out, however, some now believe that crying it out is less about establishing independence and more about making nighttime easier for parents. Allowing a baby to cry, it seems, can actually lead to a “lifetime of harm.”

“A crying baby in our ancestral environment would have signaled predators to tasty morsels,” writes Darcia Narvaez, an Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Collaborative for Ethical Education at the University of Notre Dame. “So our evolved parenting practices alleviated baby distress and precluded crying except in emergencies.”

The bodies of stressed babies release a hormone called cortisol, which can lead to the higher probability of ADHD, poor academic performance and anti-social tendencies. Human babies are meant to have their needs met quickly in order for their brains to properly develop, the new research suggests.

Does this change how you might think about or deal with your crying baby? And does that make you want to cry?

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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