Why do babies cry? Understanding Release vs. Needs Crying In Newborns

Why do babies cry?

The sound of a crying baby stirs up a great sense of urgency for a newborn parent because the oxytocin hormone (released during labor and breastfeeding) leads to increased sensitivity to the sound of a baby in distress. (https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14402)

I educate my clients on the many reasons babies cry and speak to them about the differences of release crying and needs crying, helping to bring more harmony and understanding to their baby's cry.

Babies are conscious humans, but not small adults. Acknowledging the experiences a newborn has will help you understand why baby's cry, such as:

-new sensations of hunger, gas

-immature gastrointestinal tract

-feeling wet, diaper rash, or overheated

-having an immature nervous system

-the implicit memory (stored in the body) of their time gestating in the womb

-implicit memory of their birth experience, oftentimes with many interventions that can be very disorienting for them

-release and expression of emotions

How do you feel after a big cry?

Perhaps lighter, cleansed, more synchronized, especially if done so with a loving friend, partner, or family member by your side?

Crying brings homeostasis and helps regulate the coherence of the brain and body to work together teaching emotional intelligence.

Cries need to be responded to appropriately to establish whole-body health. When babies can release their cries in loving arms they establish healthy emotional intelligence from the very beginning.

The modern collective tends to block out, suppress or not support the emotions of babies crying. This can be damaging to their emotional health and development, especially when left crying in isolation. Crying it out increases the baby's stress hormones and when done repeatedly, impairs development and damages their social engagement system.

Sharing your calm and not joining in on baby's chaos is a must. It's not an easy task especially with the fatigue and demands of newborn parenting set in, usually around 1-month postpartum. However, it is the parents' responsibility to remain calm and regulated during charged times. This is an opportunity for growth, surrender, and selfless love that our children bring forth to help us evolve. Families need layers of support from their community to help them, giving them breaks to focus on self-care. Relaxation techniques and learning how to stay regulated will benefit everyone in the family, especially your newborn as you imprint onto their growth and development for their lifetime.

Parenting isn't meant to happen alone. If you or a loved one is struggling please don't hesitate to reach out for guided virtual support. I am here for you!

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