Somewhere along the line, modern day parents were told that when a baby was crying it was to manipulate rather than to communicate. I am sure if I dug deep enough, I could find the source of this ridiculous information but it would only upset me, so why bother. Such a complete disregard for common sense is mind boggling.
Bottom line, a baby cries for a reason. That reason could be hunger, sleepiness, pain of some sort or simply to ask for help to calm down or to be soothed for any reason.
Now, some parents may say “You can’t pick up a child every time he/she cries, you would never put the child down!” To that I say, EXACTLY! Babies are meant to be held.
There is a saying “Nine In, Nine Out”. Nine months in the womb and nine months of attachment.
Are there times when I call my three year old daughter on her “phony bologna” crying? Absolutely. But even then, she is putting on this show for a reason: tired, hungry, over stimulated or just vying for my attention. This behavior is still due to a lack of ability to properly communicate.
Even at 3 years old even she may not fully understand her emotions or be able to effectively communicate her needs. But, because I practiced attachment parenting I can know quite easily what is bothering my little sprite simply by looking in her eyes.
But I am not talking about toddlers and preschoolers, I am talking about newborns and infants. An infant absolutely does not have the ability to speak, their only form of communication is to cry.
By practicing attachment parenting, you are of the thinking that babies cry to communicate their needs to their parents and caregivers. According to Dr. Sears, the founder of the term Attachment Parenting:
From Dr. Sears- The Baby Book
“Babies come wired with attachment-promoting behaviors (APB’s), magnetlike behaviors so irresistible they draw the parent to the baby, in language so penetrating it must be heard.
Some APB’s are hard to miss – for example, your baby’s cries, smiles, clinging gestures; others are subtle cues , like eye contact and body language. All parents, especially mothers, have a built-in intuitive system with which they listen and respond to the cues of their baby.
Even an occasional “incorrect” response (example: offering to feed a baby who wants only to be held) is better than no response, because it encourages your baby to keep working with you.
It’s easy for someone else to advise you to let your baby cry. Unless he or she is a very sensitive person, nothing happends to his or her body chemistry when your baby cries.
If we were to put a mother and baby together in a laboratory and attach blood-flow measuring instruments to the mother’s breasts, here’s what would happen: When mother heard her baby cry, the blood flow to her breasts would increase, accompanies by an overwhelming urge to pick up and comfort her baby.
Your baby’s cry is powerful language designed for the survival and development of the baby and the responsiveness of the parents.
Respond to it. “
Fortunately, my family as a whole (both my parents and my in-laws) are of the same mind set when it comes to parenting. But not all parents are so lucky.
Be prepared to defend this way of parenting. Our society, at least in the states, has been programmed to look at babies as accessories to be carried around in bulky car seats and are expected to mold themselves to the parents way of life. AP parents recognize the need to temporarily alter their own schedule and lifestyle to best suit their baby’s needs.
As I venture further through the seven baby B’s of attachment parenting we come upon #3 – Breastfeeding. Until then…