Crying Strengthens the Lung – Myth or Truth?

You have probably heard this advice that it is right to let the baby cry while doing other things , that crying strengthens the lung, or that if you attend to it immediately it will become unaccustomed.

Of course, sometimes we all need a good cry – we are stressed and we need relief, but wouldn’t it be better if, when you cried, your partner came to calm you down and comfort you instead of ignoring you? The same is true of the baby.

As with complex issues, there is often a background of truth beneath layers of misunderstanding. Therefore, it would be interesting to understand some physiological factors before we say or not that crying strengthens the lung.

Lung Development

Lung development does not end on the day of birth. However, although the lungs are not muscles, it is certainly true that there are large muscles associated with the lungs (predominantly the diaphragm and intercostal) and exercising these muscles, in fact, improves the performance of lung function.

However, this does not mean that crying strengthens the lung or that babies who cry more will improve their lung function. There are determinants that will make all the difference, but it is clear that crying or screaming is not one of them.

When to Let the Baby Cry?

There is a physiological basis for the argument that crying strengthens the lung or that the baby should be allowed to cry, that is, in this case, crying is beneficial for lung development. But this happens only in the transition from uterine to extrauterine life .

It is absolutely essential that babies cry as soon as they are born , because in the womb the lungs are filled with amniotic fluid and, when they pass through the birth canal, they are crushed.

Importance of Crying at Sunrise

The linings of its alveoli are wet and therefore stick together like damp sheets of paper. Babies need to take the first good, deep breath (which is caused by crying) to force the alveoli to open

If everything happens as planned, the alveoli are coated with surfactant (a liquid produced by the body that has the function of facilitating the exchange of respiratory gases in the lungs), which drastically reduces surface tension and makes breathing possible.

Why Do Babies Cry?

The means of communication between a mother and her child is through crying. A baby has no verbal skills to tell the mother what he or she needs. Then, the baby will cry to communicate.

When the child feels a need, it triggers an automatic response to the filling of air in the lungs and then vigorous expulsion through his vocal cords.

Sheila Kitzinger, a social anthropologist by birth and a leading authority on pregnancy and motherhood, says: “We are biologically programmed to respond to a baby’s cry.

It is a basic survival strategy, and it means that the baby needs help and not because crying strengthens the lung. A cry can mean “Alimenteme!”, “I am alone”, “I am too tired and I want help sleeping”, “I am in pain and please do something about it”, I am wetting and I need to change “, or even” I went very stimulated, leave me alone ”.

It may take time for a new mother to learn what her baby’s cry means , but it is an important maternal skill. As they grow, they learn other ways to communicate. They use their eyes, smile and make other noises instead of crying.

Our bodies were designed to respond to our baby’s crying . It is natural and healthy to comfort you when you are crying, even when there seems to be no cause. This reassures them, comforts them and the mothers do it with all zeal and affection.

Even with our grandparents saying that crying strengthens the lung, responding immediately to the baby’s crying also has long-term benefits. The researchers found that babies whose crying is promptly responded to in the first six months of life cry less often and for a shorter duration, in the next six months and beyond, than babies who did not get that response so quickly.

But Why Does the Saying That Crying Strengthens the Lung?

Most likely, this saying arose from a need to relieve the anxiety of the mother, who had a million tasks and needed to leave everything to help the baby who was crying. It is more or less a way of saying: “look, you can finish what you are doing first, crying a little bit is not a problem, crying strengthens the lung!”

Some Scientifically Proven Reasons for Not Letting Baby Cry

The reasons that will be presented were based on studies and research developed over several years and by people from different parts of the world. These are factors triggered by excessive crying and the feeling of absence.

Although the baby does not yet have a developed sense of abandonment, the consequences of a lack of immediate response to his calls can cause:

  1. Increased blood pressure, cortisol and heart rate.
    • The immediate and long-term documented sequelae of crying include increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced oxygen level, increased cerebral blood pressure, onset of the stress response, depleted energy and oxygen reserves, interrupted mother-baby interaction , brain injury and heart problems. Parents or caregivers are encouraged to respond to the baby’s crying quickly, consistently and comprehensively.
  2. Increased risk of ADHD
    • Babies who suffered persistent crying episodes were 10 times more likely to have ADHD as a child, in addition to poor school performance and antisocial behavior
  3. Decreased IQ
    • Children with prolonged crying (not just for colic) had an adjusted average IQ that was 9 points lower than others with crying that responded quickly.

Hugging, welcoming and comforting your child when he is crying will not be “spoiling” or making him unaccustomed. It will be helping in your development and self-confidence .

Children who are firmly attached to their parents, who feel safe in exploring knowing that they can count on their caregivers, learn that the world is not a scary place and, in fact, is more independent as they get older.

See also: How to Calm the Baby in 3 Steps

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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.

Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

Dr. Alexis Hart

My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother. Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

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