By Good Night Consultant
How much crying is normal?
Most, if not all parents are cry sensitive
When I was a first time mom, I believed that babies only cried when they were close to dying. Hence the reason I was in a complete panic when I first took my baby home and he did not stop crying!
I soon learned that babies cry. Period. Studies suggest a newborn for an average of two to three hours each day!
All babies cry. They cry because they are wet, uncomfortable, unhappy and/or hungry, and sometimes just because they are babies. And babies cry. A whole bunch. To have the expectation that your child to never cry is both unrealistic and unnatural.
Crying and Mom
If we know this, why is it that our baby’s crying bothers us so much? According to Dr. Aletha Solter in her book, Tears and Tantrums: “Children’s tears and tantrums elicit strong feelings in adults”. A survey in the US asked new mothers to describe their feelings when they were unable to quiet their crying infants. The mothers explained feelings of exasperation, being afraid, anxiety, being unloving as well as feeling resentful and confused. Biologically our heart rates and blood pressure increase when we hear our children cry. We have been designed to react when our children cry. It is intrinsic to the beautiful way in which we’ve been created.
Why does a child crying bother us so much?
Because it is loud! Very loud! The Decibel (dB) is the unit used to measure the loudness of a sound. A baby’s cry is measured at around 110 dB. To put this into perspective, an alarm clock is around 80dB and an ambulance siren is just slightly louder at 120dB! So when your baby cries it is like putting an alarm clock next to your ear. For this reason I encourage my clients to switch off the monitor next to their ears. If your child’s room is close to yours, you will definitely hear your baby cry.
What is the point?
The point is that babies cry. They cry loudly and they cry often. It is unnatural to “like” it when your baby cries, nobody does. However, there is such a thing as “good crying”.
Let me explain: When your child is sad, he/she should be allowed to cry. Scientists believe that crying can be considered to be a safety mechanism because it aids the body in releasing stress-related toxins. Furthermore, if your toddler plays with a dangerous object it is in the best interested of your child to remove that item from him. If you’ve ever dealt with a two year old, then you’d likely know that he will cry loudly when you do this. But should we then rather give him back this dangerous item because he becomes emotional about it? Of course not! You are the parent; you know how to protect your child.
The same can be said about sleep. Sometimes your child will protest because you do not allow him/her to drink a bottle/breastfeed five times during the night, or because you force him/her to go to bed at 7pm. We are parents for a reason, and we cannot always allow our children to have what they want, even though they might cry about it.
Your child protesting or crying should not be the reason you fail to implement good sleep hygiene.