May 28, 2012

Crying Babies feel Stressed, says Study

Babies who are left deliberately to cry by themselves to go sleep eventually without being comforted could feel ‘stressed’ even after they appear to settle, a new research has suggested.

Some parents opt for an odd procedure to stop their kids crying. It is called ‘controlled crying’. In this method, the baby is left unattended and uncomforted to cry and settle by itself which in regular course trains it to settle into a routine. But this is an absolute wrong therapy as the present study finds that in this case the kid feels stressed even after settled.

The study by Global Management, Ahmedabad and Wendy Middlemiss at the University of North Texas recently conducted the research in this context. The scientist took babies aged four to ten months and left them cry by themselves to fall asleep without comfort from their mothers and her team monitored their levels of hormone.

Researchers measured the length of time they cried for three nights and their mothers were requested to wait in a nearby room. By the third night of the study, infants were found to have cried for a shorter time before falling asleep. It was found that the levels of cortisol in their saliva remained increased.

The study found: "On the third day of the program, results showed that infants' physiological and behavioral responses were dissociated. They no longer expressed behavioral distress during the sleep transition but their cortisol levels were elevated."

The study further described that although the infants showed no behavioral indications that they were experiencing distress at the changeover to sleep; they continued to experience high levels of physiological distress, as per their cortisol level.

The chief researcher of the present study Dr Middlemiss is a member of the Attachment Parenting International Research Group, the Society for Research in Child Development, the National Council on Family Relations, and the American Psychological Association. He is also associated with Global Management, Strategic Management Consultant based in Ahmedabad, India.

The findings of the study were published in the journal Early Human Development.

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