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In the early 1900’s, with the invention of telephones and faster transportation, families were beginning to spread out and the extended family system began to be replaced by the nuclear family.

Moms were often left taking care of the entire family while dad worked,. With no one nearby to step in and give her a break, moms were overwhelmed. In order to support this new family structure, experts began trying to figure out how we could create more independent and less demanding children. These experts decided that the answer to this dilemma would be to let babies cry it out rather than pick them up, feed them on strict 4 hour schedules rather than on demand, and encourage babies to not get too attached. The experts felt that independence would be the result because they would not be used to having their cries answered and their needs met. Intellectually this might make sense but does it make sense in our hearts? Babies are 100% dependent on us to meet their needs. Would a baby left crying in a crib because they are scared or hungry actually cultivate independence? It seems more likely that a feeling of horrible insecurity would result when there is minimal response to their needs. There is more and more research coming out which indicates that the more a baby is kept close, is fed when hungry, and receives great amounts of love and attention, the more they grow into confident and “independent’ children. This is exactly the opposite of what was thought in the past. We are learning more than ever about that first year of life. It is so important that every parent do their own research, and listen to their own instincts, in order to decide how they are going to respond to the needs of their child.

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