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Babies cry for many reasons, and it is important to learn your baby’s personality and his or her different cries so that you can respond appropriately to them. There are cries that mean,”I need affection,” “I’m hungry,” “My tummy hurts,” “I’m tired and cranky and don’t know how to get to sleep,” and still others that are simply “venting” for all the stress the baby takes in, adjusting to the world of nonstop stimulation. Each of these different cries can and should be responded to appropriately. Each baby will differ in his or her need for physical affection. Some need to be held nearly all the time for the first few months, others are curious and independent almost immediately. To force an infant one way or another is to disempower her and disrupt the flow of chi or vital energy she needs to become strong, healthy, and independent.

Some people think that babies who cry always need to be calmed and shushed, or, conversely, should be left alone to “cry it out.” This is not true. Infants should never be left alone to cry, unheeded, but sometimes they need to cry in the safety of a parent’s presence, without being shushed, to discharge stress. After a certain period, when they sense they are being attended to, they calm themselves, and usually sleep much more deeply.

This is one of the most important reasons to massage your pregnant belly and to massage your infant regularly after birth. You learn, as nothing else can teach you, what your baby needs, and her cries and fusses don’t distress you so much as inform you of what you need to do to respond appropriately and thus allow your baby to grow and blossom like a well-tended flower in your garden. If you respond in these ways, you needn’t worry about when to wean, when to potty train, and all the other advice people want to give you. You will become an expert on your child, and you will naturally know and understand what she is ready to do and when. This gives you the confidence to listen to the so-called experts and then go by your inner sense of what is right.

by Vimala McClure

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