Sunday, October 25, 2020

Good to know

Who has heard the advice, “Stop holding the #baby so much — you’re going to spoil them”. And did it make you hesitate to do what your instincts directed, to calm your crying baby? There are no reasons to think twice when cuddling with your upset infant, no matter what well-meaning advice you receive. It’s impossible to spoil them. J. Kevin Nugent, director of the Brazelton Institute at #Children’s Hospital in Boston and a child psychologist, says that a newborn baby learns from their interactions with their parents that the world is reliable, and can trust that their needs will be met. Responding to baby’s cries “isn’t a matter of spoiling,” he said. “It’s a matter of meeting the child’s needs.” Babies are #neurobiologically wired to stop crying when they are being carried. This is a part of our evolutionary biology that helps our species survive. Studies published in the Current Biology journal, the first of which was by Esposito et al., show that the infant calming response to carrying is a coordinated set of central, motor, and cardiac regulations that is an evolutionarily preserved aspect of caregiver-infant interactions. These studies also help to have a scientific explanation for the frustration many new parents struggle with... that a calm and relaxed infant will often begin crying immediately when he or she is put down. Scientists have known for years that the cerebellum is directly linked to a feedback loop with the #vagus nerve which keeps heart rate slow and gives you resilience under pressure. The cerebellum only accounts for about 10% of the size of a baby’s brain but it contains over 50% of its neurons. As adults, we can calm ourselves by practicing mindfulness, which puts the cerebellum at peace and creates a parasympathetic response of well being. This appears to be the same response that occurs in infants when they are being carried. Notre Dame psychologist Darcia Narvaez led a research team that found children become healthier and happier adults when they have parents who treated them with #affection, #sensitivity, and #playfulness since birth. By surveying over 600 adults about affectionate touch, free #play and positive family time in their childhoods, it was found that adults with less anxiety and overall better mental wellbeing had positive childhoods. Professor Narvaez encourages parents to respond to their baby’s cries, whether it means holding them, touching them, or rocking them; it’s all optimal. “What parents do in those early months and years are really affecting the way the #brain is going to grow the rest of their lives,” explains Narvaez, “so lots of holding, touching and rocking, that is what babies expect. They grow better that way. And keep them calm, because all sorts of systems are establishing the way they are going to work. “If you let them cry a lot, those systems are going to be easily triggered into #stress. We can see that in adulthood — that people that are not cared for well, tend to be more stress reactive and they have a hard time self-calming.” The researchers found that free play is vital for child development, as well as growing up in a positive, warm home environment. Narvaez believed that humans need these important things from the time they are born. Therefore, she recommends parents follow their instincts. Although it places a large responsibility on parents to be responsive to their baby’s cries, she adds that we really didn’t evolve to parent alone. Our history is to have a #community of caregivers to help, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends in the baby’s life. Professor Narvaez says, “We need to, as a community, support families so they can give children what they need.” spoiling-them/ #neurochild #childdevelopment #familygoals #dyads

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