What is the Best Baby Sleep Advice?
In Penelope Leach, elder stateswoman of childcare gurus, say so. In a new book she argues that regularly leaving a baby to cry could damage its brain and make it anxious in later life.
Miss Leach, who’s an honorary research fellow at the Tavistock Clinic, says recent scientific research backs her up. Saliva swabs, for instance, have shown up increased levels of cortisol in distressed babies whose cries have not been responded to. Cortisol is the stress hormone, the one middle-aged executives with heart disease usually have too much of before they finally keel over. Neurobiologists say cortisol could be toxic to infant brains.
In contrast to Miss Leach, Gina Ford, the other baby-care guru, advises leaving babies to cry for set periods so that they may settle themselves to sleep. The infant learns to console himself, as it were. Fans of Miss Ford’s strict methods always says “Oh but they work!” Miss Leach doesn’t deny that they work. But she says that’s just because the baby has “given up”, which makes it sound as though the baby has submitted, pitifully, and its will has been crushed.
“The reason babies raised on strict routine regimens go to sleep, usually with less and less crying, is because they are quicker and quicker to give up,” she says in the Guardian. “Their brain has adapted to a world where they are not responded to. That kind of early-induced anxiety may relate to anxiety right through adult life.” I must say it sounds convincing. It’s certainly not credible that babies of 18 months or less are being deliberately “manipulative”.
Anyway, it’s interesting to note that Miss Leach’s new book, titled The Essential First Year – What Babies Need Parents to Know, is given the prime spot all over page three of today’s Guardian. It confirms that childcare techniques divide along political lines.
Roughly speaking, authoritarian conservatives approve of Gina Ford’s no-nonsense routines. On the other hand, free and easy liberals tend, more often, to allow their babies to run the show – feeding them “on demand”, letting the adored babies sleep in the grownups’ bed until they’re five, and so forth. I suppose the best way is probably somewhere in between.
I bolded the last sentence because i think it is the most important sentence yet they end the article there! There was much heated debate on their website over this article mainly criticizing these two experts for not having children, for parents not using their intuition in parenting and concerns over what kind of problems can be caused by “over responding” to a baby. Wow. So much analzying can really paralyze the most intelligent, well meaning parenting.
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