Following on from part 1.
"One of my major concerns with Aware Parenting is that a baby with very real problems will not be having its REAL needs met. Even in gentle births babies can be subluxated and need chiropractic or cranial support."
The baby's needs should be met. If the crying is prolonged or of a different pitch, the parents should check with their health care provider. Solter suggests all of that. She also suggests checking for allergies, and more. If you've met all the babies needs and you are not confident that the cry is not an indication of something worse than stress, by all means check with your doctor!
The author allows that a physical trauma is possible, but strangely, that it would only require a physical solution. So there is no connection between physical trauma and psychological or emotional responses?
"The Aware Parenting approach dismisses comfort nursing (otherwise known as non-nutritive sucking). ..... In indigenous cultures the mother allows the child to suck from the breast which has already had milk withdrawn, for as long as is needed."
Which cultures, and why? They don't all do that and they do it for various reasons. This is a singular and sentimental use of a practice that has very practical requirements in some tribes.
Nursing a baby for comfort, especially before 3 months of age at least, seems natural to me, but that's just an opinion. I have never read a convincing argument that babies must nurse for comfort, nor a convincing argument against that. So this is an intuitive and personal choice for each mother I feel. Solter says that the only logical time to nurse is when the baby is hungry, but again, doesn't convince me.
However, I do understand Solter's premise that sticking the boob/bottle in every single time the baby cries has the potential for problems. It can remove the baby's ability to understand his/her own hunger needs, as well as suppress a need to vocalise their emotions (cry).
I see it as a very forceful and physical suppression. Like putting a stopper in a hole to halt an overflow, sooner or later, you're faced with a worse problem.
I guess an ideal perhaps is being in tune with the baby enough to nurse for hunger and comfort, and yet allow a release of emotion when that feels right too.
"We are biologically programmed to give a nurturing response to our baby's cries. It is not natural to refrain or to ignore them."
Absolutely. Solter says the same, many times throughout her book. Is it any less natural to allow a baby his/her emotions?
I would welcome further criticisms of the approach, but would prefer more logical and less emotive and biased points.
My other personal caveat with Solter's approach is the length of crying. She suggests, in my most basic interpretation, to allow it all to come out. I don't feel okay about allowing the crying to go on until she is exhausted or becoming more distressed. I want her to feel better or be ready for sleep because she is at peace, not out of exhaustion.
Her first cries after I came to this need to cry insight, did begin with short yells that escalated into a thrashing rage. This only occured twice. I can only imagine what she had to release. I had a stressful pregnancy and a c-section. She was calm and content a while after her cries. Some babies may cry to the point of exhaustion, if you're brave enough to go the distance, because of how much womb/birth/early stress they need to release and how much has been suppressed.
The Wildflower also had to learn to cry. Her early attempts had very little tears. This was heart-wrenching to witness. A tangible indication of how much I had suppressed her emotions. Now she can shed tears. And these days I allow her a chance to get some stress out but don't pressure either one of us to finish the cry. I have found this to be an important approach for both our sakes. Perhaps more for mine though.
Our bedtime routine includes DIY Dad holding her while I get myself ready. She will always cry. No matter how fine she seemed before that, albeit fussing a little with sleepiness. If I take her too soon, she will fuss during her feed and then fuss a long time to fall asleep, and then be a little more restless during the night.
If I take her at the right time, she feeds and falls into a gentle and natural sleep, or soon after. And she sleeps deeper and more restful. The pre-sleep crying isn't distressing nor does it last much longer than 5 minutes. I would say it's more like 3. I feel it is her way to release any left over stress from the day. But again, I don't let it go on too long. Which is why sometimes I end up stopping it too soon.
Incidentally, last night DIY Dad felt bad for her as she was crying and asking for me. I took her but was annoyed at him and told him she needed that cry. Well, she took over an hour to fall asleep. And while she was doing that, and seemed to have fallen into light sleep, she would suddenly say a word. Random words that she has learnt. It was like they were overflowing out of her. She was highly stimulated by her own daily talking. The rest of the night was awful. This morning I told him all about it, and how although it's no fun to hear her cry, it's a loving thing we are doing. I don't care about books, philosophies, etc. I know from experience of the last 4 months.
Ultimately, I believe that I have given her a gift - the chance to be more at peace, and the right and freedom to express all her emotions.