Would You Let Your Kid Cry?
You are suddenly transported into a place that is alien to you. You do not understand the language spoken, or where you next meal is going to be now. Are you afraid?
If you answer no, then you must be a brave and adventurous soul indeed! Most of us would be afraid or at least apprehensive about this situation. As you can see, it is what newborn babies are experiencing right now, do you agree?
We all know that babies cry to attract attention, it is a survival mechanism. It is also the only thing they know how to do for the moment, aside from drinking milk from a source or two. Humans sacrificed a lot when we became bipedal, gravity does not allow us to carry our load for too long, or we would hurt our backs and the offspring inside. The trade-off is a shorter pregnancy (compared to an elephant) and our babies are born with less preset knowledge (like how ziraffes and other animals can stand and run in a few hours). Some say this is good, some disagrees.
With this in mind, how could experts say babies should learn how to self soothe at the age of just 6 months? We took more time than that to fully master a language, I speak five myself, so I do know the difficulty of learning a new form of communication. Our babies lived in a snuggly coccoon for nine months, and we expect them to learn how to crawl, eat, sleep and communicate in six? I also disagree that babies cry to manipulate mommy and daddy, art of manipulation comes much later in life, after all the important life skills.
Does that seem fair to you, experts? Sometimes it baffles me how these experts come up with suggestions that does not always work, and word them like it is from the Bible. Scientific research is not always correct, there are always errors, especially when you are dealing with humans. We are different after all, and what research does is generalising everything on paper.
If that is not bad enough, the labelling and judging occurs. Have you experienced it? The looks of pity when your child is 'not sleeping through the night' or the expression that you have done something wrong; or just not adhering to what the experts say. Nurses, doctors and care workers alike, they all would 'tsk tsk' when something different pops up, they assume that all babies should follow what the textbook says. Particularly the young ones, who will judge in a blink of an eye without any experience, just assumed knowledge.
Why am I writing this article? As a pharmacists, I have my share of biased thoughts and misjudgements. People come in all shapes and sizes; mental capabilities and cultural backgrounds. Our tolerance for different practices becomes lesser each time, what is normal ten years ago is no longer acceptable now. Take Australia's No Cake Rule for instance, we are being nannied, molly-coddled and worse, bubblewrapped!
Although those articles hold some truth, it is a properly done research funded by government, it is not the reason we should follow blindly. Our children are also a person with unique characteristics. Just because our children do not sleep like what is being described in a textbook does not mean that we are failures; furthermore we should not be labelled as such. If you find that you are being judged, change health professionals or let the person know that it hurts. Right now, support is what we need!