Apparently Dr. Penelope Leach is England’s Dr. Sears. (The old Dr. Sears not the young one.) She has released a new book quoting new scientific evidence that letting babies consistently cry it out can actually hurt their brains.
From the BBC’s web site, which seemed to be the most neutral on the subject:
“Dr Leach told the BBC News website: ‘We are talking about the release of stress chemicals. The best known of them is cortisol, which is produced under extreme stress.’
” ‘One is not talking about a wakeful baby lying there gurgling, one is talking about a baby that is crying hard and nobody is responding.’
” ‘When that happens, and particularly if it happens over a long period, the brain chemical system releases cortisol and that is very bad for brain development. Some neuroscientists describe it as toxic.’ “
She suggested that unattended crying bouts of 30 minutes or more could damage babies.
The writer at the Guardian in Britain seemed to be an advocate for “crying it out” and thinks it would only be in an extreme case of neglect, like at an orphanage, that this would really affect a baby’s brain development.
“It was a blatant attack on rival baby guru Gina Ford, author of the Contented Little Baby series, who advocates strict routines and – in some situations – ‘controlled crying.’”
The author of the Mail’s story seems to buy into Dr. Leach’s research more.
In America, Dr. Richard Ferber is pro-cry guy and Dr. Sears tells you to bring them into your bed and not let them cry.
What do you think of the new research? Would it change how you handled your own baby? Did you let them cry it out or not? Would you do it differently now?