One should not pick up a baby immediately when it cries. This was the parenting advice that many have been given in the past decades. We were taught to believe that this effectively removes over protection and creates healthy independent babies. The opposite, meaning picking up your child immediately, was thought to create dependent spoilt children.

I am joining my colleagues today who advocate against this method. And I make it my task today to explain why we should not delay soothing for crying babies. I start first by highlighting that crying is a baby’s language. At the youngest stage of an infant’s life, communication revolves around needs, like; hunger, nappy changes, and fear. When the baby cries it is its way to signal that one of those needs is unmet and therefore requires attending to.

Upon some reflection, one may realise that the mechanism of the baby’s brain is automatic. It is unlike our language. We recognize our needs, develop a thought about a solution and in a complex process of linguistics we articulate our words to get what we need. It involves conscious thoughts. Babies do not have the same ability yet. Their crying is stimulated by the stress response which is grossly driven by the secretion of stress hormones. When a baby cries, it is because it is driven by this sense of stress induced by the secretion of a hormone known as cortisol.

Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness. He offers parent coaching and social work sessions. He can be contacted on