Supporting crying

Addressing the topic of crying is a complex one, as it is subject to multiple interpretations and controversies. 

There are several possible approaches that try to interpret the crying of babies, providing advice and explanations to best help parents who do not understand what is happening to their child when they start crying, and sometimes very intensely.

Malecot osteopathia baby osteopathy

Why does a baby cry?

A baby cries because it's their only means of communication, and it's their way of showing themselves to the world and those around them.

The first thing we think of is that they are hungry. This is indeed part of the basic physiological needs, but not exclusively.

They may also cry because they want to be changed, to move from one position to another, because they're hot or cold, because they want attention, etc.

These are communication cries. 

But often, parents say that no matter how much they respond to their baby's needs, they still don't understand why they're crying. They're often tears of healing, of liberation. 

This crying is often misunderstood and very stressful, even distressing, for young parents who do not understand what is happening to their baby and see all sorts of interpretations. These cries of discharge are completely physiological, natural, and healthy for the baby who regulates and relaxes his nervous system by these means.

The baby just needs to be let loose, but accompanied.

Needless to say, we never leave a baby crying alone, you should always give them your attention and stay with them 

A baby can also cry to release old or recent accumulated tensions.

In our practice, when we see a baby or child, we share our vision and explanation of the benefits of crying support with parents. The starting point is that crying is a natural, physiological and healthy way for babies to release their tensions (of all kinds: emotional and physical).

accompaniment of crying osteopathy

Why the crying?

Because until the baby can speak and make themselves understood, it is their only way to communicate with those around them. Babies cry when they are hungry, when they feel discomfort such as the need for a diaper change or a change of position, when they don't like the heat or cold, when there is too much noise or light, or to demand attention.

But not only that, they also cry to free themselves from accumulated tensions, these are healing cries. Yes, a baby perceives the nervousness, feels the ambient stress and the concern of the people around them.

To summarize: there are communicative cries and healing cries. It is unfortunately often the latter cries that are repressed and misunderstood. The bibliographic reference is the American pediatrician Aletha Solter whose books "Crying and anger in infants and babies" and "My baby understands everything" among others, we strongly recommend reading, explains very well the interest of accompanying the crying of his child.

Our experiences in practice with babies and also our work in maternity wards have gradually led us to understand the value of accompanying babies' cries. In particular, by observing the relaxation and release created by their crying and in the same way, also by listening to patients' feedback on the radical changes of their little one. No more colics, better sleep, smiles, etc ...

Why does a baby need to unload and from what?

According to our experience as osteopaths, babies are sponges, they absorb everything that surrounds them: the pleasant and the unpleasant, especially all the stresses that affected the mother (especially at the beginning) during pregnancy and the first months of life, as well as the stress of caregivers, family, etc.

Babies are also often over-stimulated in the first few months, which saturates their nervous systems and creates an "overload".

In addition, babies are in a situation of total dependence on their environment, which generates a lot of frustration, which is inevitable, even for parents who will do things as perfectly as possible.

Once born, the infant will try to free themselves from this overflow by using the most effective tool available to him: crying.

The difficulty for parents, and especially for young mothers, is to understand what is going on.

Indeed, these discharge cries are often unbearable for parents and can be very distressing, as no one can explain what happens when a child actually cries. The usual reflexes are to calm the child by all possible means: feedings, pacifiers, rocking, games, etc.

Parents think they are doing the right thing, because they interpret this crying as suffering and pain, when in fact it is often the opposite: it is healing, relaxing crying. By calming the child in this way, parents can induce, without meaning to, control mechanisms that tell the child not to cry or that crying is bad.

Eventually the child will calm down. Aletha Solter calls this the child's resilience. Indeed, it works! But the tensions remain in him and prevent him from relaxing completely.

Malecot Osteopathia Barcelona accompaniment of crying

Supporting crying does not mean letting the child cry alone in bed. You should NEVER leave a child alone to cry.

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Another possible path: supporting your child

Another way is possible, it is the one we have been practicing and recommending for the last 10 years:It is important to be aware of your child's crying. It is not obvious, but with a little practice it becomes natural. We see it every day in our practice.

Supporting crying does not mean leaving a child to cry alone in bed. You should NEVER leave a child to cry alone.

Crying requires the full presence and total listening of the accompanying parent. It is therefore important to hold the child in your arms and to be stable and calm.

It is important that the child feels the parent is calm and relaxed.

This will create a sense of trust in the child and that they can rely on the parent. The empathic link is also essential for the child to feel understood and loved, especially in this moment of great vulnerability. (As adults, we also need this to be able to surrender and free ourselves)

The child is going through its process and we are just there to accompany it. At the practice, we systematically take the time to explain this to the parents while we perform our osteopathic check of the newborn's body.

Training for crying support

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Malecot osteopathia baby osteopathy
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Are you interested in this topic?

Read more on the websiteAware Parenting

Please also feel free to contact us for advice on books or podcasts on the subject.