Thursday, September 8, 2011


A friend posted this article on my facebook wall this week and asked me my opinion of it.  I have read the article a few times and played around with it in my head today off and on and I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it.  I am ok with certain parts, I guess.  She is not saying to let the baby cry-it-out.  She is not talking about leaving them in a dark room because that's what they need... but she is talking about letting them cry.  So, is it any different just because you hold them while they cry???

I really am annoyed at people saying that an attached mom just offers the boob instantly for the first whimper. Ezzo says that in Babywise and attributes the attached mom offering the breast to the obesity epidemic in our country.  I think that's totally ridiculous.  

“An anxious and irritated parent (crying does irritate!) will most likely do what brings the fastest relief – give the breast or bottle. The baby almost always accepts it, calms down and often falls asleep. Of course, this is the right solution if the baby is hungry.  However, if the baby has other needs (for instance being tired or having pain), she will learn to expect food in response to these other needs, and grasp the breast or bottle even though she is not hungry.” – Magda Gerber, Dear Parent: Caring For Infants With Respect

I can see her point that it is not good for food to be shoved in the baby’s mouth for any and every need, I do think there is a difference whether the baby is being breastfed or bottle fed.  And please, realize I am not talking about breast milk versus formula!  I don’t care if we are talking about breastfeeding and giving a bottle of breast milk!  My point is that the breast is much more versatile and can be used by the baby for comfort, closeness, pacifying, etc.  The baby will nurse differently if this is their goal instead of nursing for hunger.  The bottle does not offer that same versatility because it releases a constant stream of milk unlike the breast.

Moving on, it seems to me the author is trying to say that our motivation in stopping our babies cry instantly is from our insecurities about the way we were raised and not being able to feel deep emotion.  She also thinks that we stop the baby’s cry because we cannot stand the crying, it makes us frazzled and stressed.  I do not like my baby to cry and I do have hormonal, emotional reactions to his cry.  I am not reacting to his cry because I need to stop the noise and in return my stress level.  I stop his cry because I know his cry is his voice and he is using it to tell me about his needs!  I then take action to meet his needs to the best of my ability.

“Why is it so difficult to hold a crying baby and to accept the crying? Probably because few people were allowed to cry as much as needed when they were little. Your parents may have tried to stop you from crying when you were a baby. Perhaps they gave you a pacifier, or kept trying to feed you, or jiggled you every time you cried, thinking this was what you needed at the moment. Perhaps they tried to distract you with toys, music, or games, when all you needed was their undivided attention and loving arms so that you could continue with your crying.” –Aletha Solter, Aware Parenting

When I cry I want to feel better and sometimes crying does that for me but usually I feel better by being comforted by someone like a good friend, sister, or my husband.  I can be comforted through talking or a hug.  In the same way, a baby is comforted through nursing, rocking, music, etc. which in my opinion, are all great ways to give the baby what he wants.

"Some parents decide to go for days without a shower, or to carry their baby all the time, in an effort to remedy this kind of crying.  Life gets harder, and parenting less enjoyable." Wipfler

I assume that statement is supposed to be about me, the attached mom.  That's fine.  it's incorrect.  My son usually does not cry unless there is a problem. He is such a calm baby and is incredibly content.  I have been truly blessed by him and I do wonder if his demeanor has something to do with the way we parent him.  His needs are met quickly, he is allowed to express himself as he needs to, he plays and explores, and is attached to his mama and papa.  Yes, I do respond to his cry quickly and I'm still ok with that. 


  1. I will admit that there are times I get stressed about Darby's cry and try EVERYTHING, including giving her a bottle, to calm her down. I often wonder if I would feel the same if I wasn't struggling with PPD or if the fact that I'm highly anxious just about 24/7 is causing her to be unsettled.

  2. Cathy, I'm sure your experience is different than mine just like that would be the case with every unique situation and set of parents and child. I'm glad you're blogging! Can't wait to follow you and see what you have to say!

  3. LOVE the Aletha Solter quote! Hadn't ever thought of it that way...keep up the good work, Marissa! You're a wonderful Mommy!

  4. I was lying in bed next to my little boy last night thinking about this. I think the concept of a baby just needing to cry is a little off. Yes, sometimes I need to cry when I'm sad. Sometimes it offers a sense of relief to get in a good cry. But if I'm hungry or in pain, crying doesn't do a thing. And I don't think my baby cries because he's sad. He cries because he has a need that he can't tend to on his own and is relying on me for. Babies' cries are their voices, and I'm with you on responding to that voice quickly and trying my best to determine what that need is that he's trying to communicate and doing what I can for him as quickly as possible. Each time we do that that's one more time that it is reinforced to him that his needs will be met, there is no need to be afraid or feel insecure because we, his parents, are there and will always be there to do for him what he can't do for himself. Thanks for posting this.