Japanese researcher cautions parents not to do this when their baby cries

By on December 4, 2015

A baby is a joy to have. But excessive crying can oftentimes be the cause of parenting stress.  Takeo Fujiwara, Director of the National Child Research Institute Center (Medicine Research Department) warns parents to curb the negative impulse (as a reaction to stress) of ‘holding the baby up and subject him/her to abuse by shaking the body violently.’

“Such reaction could be dangerous and cause permanent brain damage and other serious issues.”

Prof. Miyazaki of Tokyo Institute of Technology explains that due to the baby’s head being bigger and heavier than the body,  a violent shake could cause subdural hematoma, retinal bleeding and brain swelling.

Family #1
Mom: When my baby cries, I give him some milk and a nappy change. But even after doing so the crying won’t stop. I don’t have a clue as to why he does that. It could be stressful at times.
Dad : I hold him close to me and that makes me want to cry too.
Family #2
Mom: I thought by giving him breastmilk or changing his nappy, the crying would stop but it doesn’t.  Whatever I do, he just won’t stop crying.  I really don’t understand why he does.
Family #3
Mom: Our baby would cry for a long time at unpredictable hours so there are times I really get tired.
Dad: I’ve also discovered for the first time that the more I embrace her, the louder the crying gets –  louder I think than most babies do.

Fujiwara assures families that crying is a positive sign of a healthy baby. “Many babies cry endlessly. But parents should not blame themselves.  It’s neither mom’s nor dad’s fault. Babies go through a crying pattern,” informs the National Child Research Institute Center director.

Fujiko Yamada, director of Stop Child Neglect Network, a non-profit organization stresses that the repercussions to the baby of such motion are many, namely: language and learning disorder, blindness, other difficult issues, and death in worse case scenario.

Showing the graph, Fujiwara continues, “Our study reveals that unexplained crying by babies peaks to a high level on or during the age between 1 and 2 months lasting up to a total of 5 hours or more a day. Then as the baby grows past the peak crying age,  the frequency gradually diminishes.”

Fujiwara  adds, “Not understanding and accepting this period  could lead to frustration. No amount of rocking up and down or hugging could stop crying from happening.”

Family #1
Mom: I lose sleep over my baby crying in the middle of the night that won’t stop. I get upset and stressed.
Family #2
Mom: I can not ignore the stress at times. I could become grouchy towards my husband as a result without meaning to.
Family #3
Mom: I sometimes get stressed about the crying that never stops.
Dad: At times when I personally put our baby to sleep after coming home from work, she would cry over and over and I would get stressed-out myself.

Instead, he advises families to explore ways to cope better with stress. When in a stressful situation, Fujiwara urges parents to  try the following first to calm down a crying baby.
1) Feed the baby.
2) Change nappy.
3) Put the baby in your arms and rock him gently.
4) Swaddle the baby tight with a flannel cloth to keep the body warm just like a womb’s temperature.
5) Whisper “shhh” softly to the ears.
6) Let the baby listen to the crumbling sound of plastic bag placed close to the ears. You can also try turning the vacuum cleaner on within audible distance to where the baby is.

If any of the above works, Fujiwara urges parents to grab the chance to decompress and relax immediately by reading the magazine, answering emails, doing some stretching, listening to music, or simply talking to someone. He also reminds them to check the baby’s temperature and see the doctor if there is a sign of fever.
“If all else fails and crying persists,” continues Fujiwara, “do whatever is necessary to calm the baby down but never ever cover the baby’s mouth in an attempt not to disturb the neighbors.  You can always knock on your neighbor’s door and apologize for the inconvenience.”

“It’s completely all right to let babies cry. The most important thing is to protect the baby’s head especially from any untoward movement. Give the appropriate head support when traveling with babies in a car.”

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