2010-04-22 Babies Left to Cry at Risk of Brain Damage


The practice commonly used by mothers of leaving their baby to cry could put infants at risk for brain damage, according to claims from a child care expert.

Dr. Penelope Leach, author of the 1977 book “Your Baby And Child: From Birth to Age Five,” said Thursday that leaving a baby to cry without tending to them causes an increase of cortisol, known as the ‘stress hormone.’ Leach said too much production of cortisol could damage a baby’s brain, the Daily Mail reported.

“That doesn't mean that a baby should never cry, or that parents should worry when she does. All babies cry, some more than others. It's not the crying that is bad for babies - but crying that gets no response,” Leach said.(Read entire article)

2010-04-22 Babies left to cry can suffer brain damage, warns parenting guru


It is the issue that has long divided parenting experts: when your baby starts to cry, is it wise to immediately rush to its aid or should you leave it alone for a while first?

The long-running argument is set to be reignited this week, when a new book by the childcare expert Penelope Leach is published. It claims that distressed babies who are repeatedly left to cry are at risk of developing problems in later life. Leach argues that recent brain research proves that babies who are left to cry for prolonged periods are at risk of suffering damage to their developing brains, which reduces their capacity to learn. She said: "It is not an opinion but a fact that it's potentially damaging to leave babies to cry. Now we know that, why risk it?"

The claim puts Leach at loggerheads with many of the most popular child-rearing gurus including Gina Ford, dubbed the "Queen of Routine", whose strictly regimented method for raising infants involves leaving even young babies to "cry down" for 20 minutes. Ford's best-selling guide The Contented Little Baby Book, first published in 1999, advises new parents to break down their day into five-minute slots in order to settle their baby into a routine as soon as possible. (Read entire article)