Crying: "The Science Behind Dr Sears: Does It Stand Up?

Crying, sleep, long term damage, neglect?

This article from TIME Magazine begins with: "It’s hard to argue with William Sears’ success. A man whose multiple books have sold millions of copies and been translated into 18 languages is clearly onto something. But it’s not so hard to argue with his science. One of the central warnings in Sears’ work is that babies who cry too much — even those who are left to cry for short periods at night as they learn to go to sleep — could suffer permanent brain damage, leading to a lower IQ, behavioral problems and more. But is there anything behind such a red alert?"

This powerful article from TIME Magazine from 2012 sheds light on the research that has often been used as a basis for fear-mongering among parents who are trying to work out best solutions for their little one's sleep. Doesn't seem fair to parents to be presented with assertions where the research used as a basis is flawed or doesn't actually provide adequate support for those assertions. Of course NO parent enjoys their little one crying and at Baby of Mine we certainly don't believe in Crying it Out but we are very upfront that yes, there will be some crying involved as they are learning some amazing skills. Parents are providing wonderful support to their little ones, everything is age-relevant and it's a very loving approach.

We highly recommend you read the article in full but two interesting extracts below. It certainly says something when the very people you're citing to support your claims speak up and say their research is not being used accurately!

1. "Sears makes an extensive case for the brain-damage danger in a heavily footnoted section of his website titled “Science Says: Excessive Crying Could Be Harmful,” in which he cites 19 studies going back 34 years........Of the four studies he cites to back this up, however, two were in rat pups and one was in nonhuman primates. The one that actually involved human babies was a 2004 German study that looked at 70 babies during their first few months in day care. No surprise, the babies experienced stress, and perhaps no surprise either that when researchers took saliva swabs, they found that those babies’ cortisol levels had jumped 75% to 100%."

2. The assertions from Sears of antisocial behavior, poor school performance and a tenfold increase in the risk of ADHD are are based on other stated studies. The article states: "But all three of those studies dealt with babies suffering from colic or, worse, a condition known simply as persistent crying, which goes on even longer than the 12 weeks colic usually lasts. In those cases, it’s the very inconsolability of the crying — despite parental soothing, feeding, rocking, singing, pacing, changing and pleading — that defines the condition. Indeed, the studies go out of their way to absolve the parents of any blame for this"

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