Infants do not cry ‘for no reason.’

Infants do not cry to upset you. They don’t have a concept of hurting others and they don’t have any reason to want to do so.

Infants do not have any other way of communicating distress or an unmet need. They do not have a choice about crying.

Do not ever yell at, shake, or punish an infant. They will not learn from this – but they will be upset and afraid and possibly harmed, either in the moment or via problems in brain development.

It’s okay to take a minute to set an infant down and go into a quiet room if you are having a hard time staying calm and comforting, and come back when you have more self-control.

The only way to get an infant to cry less is to meet their needs. If you spend a lot of time with infants you can actually learn to notice when they need something, before they cry about it at all. Most infants show signs of discomfort, hunger, or having a full/wet diaper, before they get upset enough to cry.

Infants whose needs aren’t usually met right away may learn to cry immediately. Regularly not responding to an infant’s crying teaches the infant to panic every time they need something, and the trauma of being so afraid so often as an infant can cause issues with healthy brain develoment.

If a baby is crying, they need something.

  1. Is their nappy/diaper clean and dry? Even if it’s just wet, it should be changed right away.

  2. Are they hungry? A quick way to check is to run your finger over their mouth and see if they try to grab it with their lips.

  3. Do they have air bubbles? You may be able to tell if this is the problem by feeling the infant’s tummy for unusual firmness.

    Infants need to be burped right after they eat to help them get rid of air bubbles that may get trapped and cause discomfort. If it’s been little while since they last ate, it may be more effective to lay the infant on their back and move their legs in a bicycle motion.

  4. Are they too warm/cold? Touch the infant’s hands and feet to see if they need more or fewer coverings.

  5. Are they overstimulated? If it’s too noisy/bright or they’re being touched by too any people, etc., they may need to be held by one calm person with a blanket over their head. Like most people, infants tend to get more easily overstimulated when tired.

  6. Are they able to breathe freely? Infants cannot blow their own nose. A nasal aspirator is an inexpensive tool you can use to help them clear nasal congestion.

  7. Are they in pain? When an infant is sick or otherwise in pain, it may be beneficial to give them pain medication formulated for infants, such as baby tylenol. Always follow the instructions on the bottle and consult a doctor or pharmacist with any questions.

    If a cold doesn’t start to improve within a few days or the infant seems to be in pain but you don’t know why, consult a doctor. The infant may have colic, silent reflux or other issues which can sometimes be treated.

    If the infant is more than a couple months old, they may be teething. Baby tylenol will still help but a numbing paste, like orajel, on their gums may be more effective. They may also need teething toys to chew on or a cold wet (clean) washcloth.

  8. Do they just need reassurance? Infants like being sung to, murmured to, and soothed with rhythmic “shhh”-ing. Calm and steady sounds help reassure them that they aren’t alone and help them relax.

    Another way to comfort an infant is to bounce them gently and rhythmically in your arms, and/or pat their back rhythmically.

    Some infants, including most newborns, may need to be swaddled. A tight swaddle helps the infant feel secure and warm. Ask a doctor, nurse, parent, or YouTube to show you how to do a proper swaddle.

  9. Do they need to be held? The need for touch is the need most often ignored. Infants are significantly more likely to thrive with lots and lots of skin-to-skin contact. They also just need to be held, in general, a lot of the time.

    Being held (especially with skin to skin contact but even without it) helps the infant release hormones necessary for healthy brain development. Being close enough to feel an adult’s steady heartbeat is calming and beneficial for an infant.

    For these reasons and many others, infants need to be held - a lot. Our closest primate relatives maintain constant physical contact with their babies for the first year of life. Historically most humans have lived communally, which allows several people to take turns providing the necessary physical contact.

    Infants don’t need to be held every single moment, but the more they are held, the safer and more secure they’ll feel and the more likely they are to be healthy. A sling, baby wrap, or wearable infant carrier can help an infant get necessary contact time.

    If an infant needs contact to sleep, consider getting a cosleeper cushion to safely allow you or someone else to sleep next to the infant. If that isn’t possible, sleep training where you pick up and comfort the baby each time they cry, and then put them down slightly sooner each time that night, may help.

Do not let an infant cry and cry for help and not give it to them.

Infant mortality rates are down — but benefits are divided down racial lines

  • The good news: According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. infant mortality rate dropped 15% between 2005 and 2014, CNN reported Tuesday
  • Infant deaths fell largely across the board, from 6.86 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births to 5.82 deaths per thousand births. Sudden infant death syndrome also decreased by 29%. 
  • The bad news: Benefits have not been equally distributed. The mortality rate was twice as high for “non-Hispanic black women,” than “non-Hispanic white women.” 
  • For American Indians and Alaska Natives, infant mortality rates remained relatively unchanged. Read more (3/21/17 1:24 PM)

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Imagine Draco feeding the baby
  • <p> <b><p></b> <b>Draco:</b> *finally manages to get the baby to actually keep the food in his mouth and eat it*<p/><b>Draco:</b> Well done, little lad! Daddy's so proud of you! *feeds him another spoon*<p/><b>You:</b> *comes in* Hey you two!<p/><b>Draco:</b> *turns around* Hey my love! Look at this, I'm the BEST FEEDER in the world!<p/><b>Baby:</b> *spits out food*<p/><b>Draco:</b> HOW DARE YOU BETRAY ME LIKE THIS! I TRUSTED YOU! BUT AS SOON AS I TURN MY BACK ON YOU YOU ABANDON EVERYTHING I TAUGHT YOU<p/><b>You:</b> Draco<p/><b>You:</b> Draco that is a BABY<p/><b>Draco:</b> ...UNTRUSTWORTHY LITTLE TRAITOR<p/></p><p/></p>

pretty-good-dot  asked:

Hi! I'm writing a 17 year old victim of extreme childhood neglect, and need her to be able to speak English (after some therapy) but I also need her to be as un-adjusted as possible. How little Interaction with her parents can she have without her brain not developing properly (the way that Genie's brain didn't develop and kept her from learning language)

This is difficult to answer because there really isn’t any empirical data on exactly how much interaction is needed for language development. It’s obviously impossible to do testing on this ethically, and existing research pretty much exclusively focuses on the extreme cases.

However, I do have a few tips.

I’d recommend that she have had a relatively normal interaction with her parents as an infant, and only have been put into isolation once she has a grasp on language, if at all possible.

One of the factors in how Genie developed was the lack of stimulation in her environment; she was confined to one small, dark room where she was often restrained and rarely had anything to play with. I’d make sure your character has plenty of things to play with, and either have a large cell or occasionally be allowed to leave it.

If at all possible within the confines of your story, I’d recommend having your child character have access to a television with some children’s programming on it. Even a window where she could see and hear other people interacting would be enormously helpful in her language development. 

There’d still have to be some face-to-face interaction, though. I don’t have any sort of empirical data to support this, but I’d say at bare minimum 3 hours per day as a toddler. The face-to-face interaction could be stepped down over the years, to the point that it could be almost entirely eliminated once the character is an adolescent and has a good grasp on English. She’d still need something to keep her knowledge of English from being forgotten (so she’d still have to interact with people every so often if the TV thing isn’t an option).

Also - you didn’t mention this, but ask yourself if you want your character to be able to read and write as well as speak English.


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This Tiny Thing Sleeps

This tiny thing sleeps on my chest,
fitful sleep,
his mewlings birthed by
what dreams I cannot imagine.
The curving sole of his foot,
pressed against my hand,
lacks the callous of tomorrow,
lacks the cracked abrasions
we older souls
borrow from the ground.

His mother tends his sister upstairs,
and I am left with this
unfamiliar child
clinging to me,
left grasping for lullabies
I don’t remember how to sing,
and I fear the gallop
of my unsettled heart
beneath his head will wake him.

His fist encircles my broad finger–
and my finger has never before seemed broad–
with the surprising strength of infancy.
His head settles
into the cradle curve of my throat,
and he is quiet,
he is quiet,
a tiny thing asleep on my chest.

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