Leaving babies to cry harms their brains

Dr Penelope Leach, author of the 1977 book ‘Your Baby And Child: From Birth To Age Five’, claimed that fresh research has proved that long periods of crying leads to the increased production of the “stress hormone” cortisol that could damage a baby’s brain.

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?”

Dismissing the popular belief that baby’s should be left to cry for at least 20 minutes, Leach said young babies do not have the mental maturity to ‘learn’ to go to sleep at the right time.

“A baby who is left crying for long enough will eventually stop, but not because he has learned to go to sleep happily alone, but because he is exhausted and has despaired of getting help,” she was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

“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’s theory, however, contradicted the views of other experts who advise parents to regiment their newborn’s life, including allowing the baby to cry, until a regular sleeping pattern is formed.

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