If you have a baby at home, you're probably used to the sound of crying. Even now that my children have long since ditched their diapers, the sound of a baby's cry gives me some serious goose bumps. And although you definitely know what's going on on the outside, have you ever wondered what's happening on the inside when your baby cries? Whether you're team cry it out or not, you may have wondered what happens in your baby's brain when they cry.
The sound of a baby's cry is not exactly pleasant, but it's not supposed to be. Before they have the words to tell you when they are hungry, tired, or in need of a diaper change, a baby's cry alerts the caregiver that something is going on, leaving it up to the parent to figure out what is going on. According to Dr. Sears' website, a mother's responsiveness to her baby's cues has a direct impact on the child's intellectual and social development.
If you've done any research about the impact of letting babies cry it out, you know that there are some very passionate advocates on both sides. On one hand, there are those who believe that crying can't hurt your baby. If you've determined that baby isn't tired, hungry, or sick, you may just have to let your baby cry until things pass, as the Mayo Clinic mentioned.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that leaving a baby to cry can cause stress and anxiety. As The Guardian noted, high levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been found in babies who are left to cry without attention from their caregiver. Dr. Sears' website added that research indicates that long-term exposure to stress hormones can alter the brain's neurotransmitter systems and lead to changes in the brain that are similar to those of adults with depression.
As you and your baby get to know each other, you'll quickly learn to decode the different cries and be better equipped to meet his needs. Allow your partner and other family members to respond when you need to take a break. And if you feel like you are going to lose control, put your baby in a safe place while you go and collect yourself. Remember, the crying won't last forever. As he gets older, the crying turns into whining.