Step 6 – The Crying Game


Take a look at this little fella on the right here. What do you make of him? Is he hungry, a little bit lonely, absolutely knackered, or is he just a whingeing little b*****d?

It may surprise you to learn that the answer is…all of the above!

Babies cry for a variety of reasons: hunger, tummy pain, lack of cuddles, tiredness, birth trauma, or even for no discernible reason. For the new parent, however, it’s difficult to concentrate on finding an underlying cause when getting the hairdryer treatment from your little bundle of joy.

Fortunately, there are a host of experts (parents with one more kid than you) willing to pass on their knowledge for the price of a paperback doorstop. What novice parent at their wit’s end wouldn’t want to learn the ‘365 Ways To Stop Your Baby Crying’?! Ok, so the individual tips might appear more effective if there weren’t so many of them…

There are plenty of other books on taming babies to choose from though, if you’re contemplating earplugs. It seems as though there’s one written every minute. However, most authors only write about their own experiences with their own kids. Limited scope you may think. Not that this stops the writers of these tomes doling out general advice like sweeties. Frustratingly, however, these words of wisdom are commonly offset by a thinly disguised disclaimer that is the mantra of many a baby guru – “Every baby is different.”

So what are your options?

Two of the most influential names in the crying game are Dr. Benjamin Spock and Dr. Truby King, both sadly sleeping the big sleep.

Dr. King had a dream. His dream was that little children, black or white, would grow up to be strong characters – eating sleeping and pooing regularly. Leaving babies to cry themselves out via ‘controlled crying’ would achieve this. King published ‘Feeding and Care of Baby’ in 1913, advocating that mothers should avoid picking babies up or hugging them as this may teach them to cry and turn them into softies. This approach became surprisingly influential.

Dr. Spock arrived after Truby King. Initially considered a bit too left-field, he had tone to down his technique a bit for the newborns.

Oh…BENJAMIN Spock? Right! …Well, this Spock relied less on nerve pinches and more on understanding a baby’s needs. A far cry from Dr.King, he encouraged mothers to be affectionate and treat babies as human beings. Commonsense stuff. In fact, Dr. Spock’s message to mums was “You know more than you think you do”. Despite this, he published a volume titled ‘Baby and Child Care’ in 1946. Just in case…

That was a brief peek at two competing philosophies. On a more personal note now, I have something to share from my own experience with my two children. Let me introduce you to a couple of good friends who’ve helped me to conquer the crying… Koala and Tiger! Do bear in mind though…every baby is different!

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