There was an interesting quote in The Telegraph -
Parenting experts said they feared the technology on the Apple phone could discourage mothers from relying on their instinct and experience.
Siobhan Freegard, of the website Netmums.com, told The Sun: "Learning to interpret cries is part of the bonding process and forms the foundation for good communication."
I absolutely agree with Siobhan Freegard about the importance of learning to interpret your baby's cries, but I'd love the know the original context of her statement. It feels quite negative in this context, but as a stand-alone comment it could equally be in praise of the new product. Siobhan? Care to comment?
In any case, here is my view - not as a "parenting expert", but as a mum with two toddlers and friend to dozens of other mums.
When my little ones entered my world, I didn't instantly understand what they were trying to communicate. Like many mums I know, I tried to follow my instinct but rarely felt I was getting it right.
The first few nights, every time Madeleine cried my maternal instincts and my body told me that I absolutely must feed her (and when I did she stopped crying), but experienced parents and midwives told me that I was absolutely wrong and that she most definitely should not be fed again. I'm not alone in being given "professional" advice that conflicted with what I felt was right, and being made to doubt my own judgement at such a crucial stage. Perhaps because I doubted my judgement, or perhaps because I just didn't have an innate ability to understand my baby's cries, for the first couple of months I felt a little panicky and flustered every time she cried, and found myself floundering around trying everything I could think of. Nappy? No. Burp? No. Lights too bright? No. Hungry? ...
We had a major breakthrough when my friend S handed me her dog-eared copy of The Baby Whisperer. Tracy Hogg has a brilliant crib sheet for deciphering a baby's cries, encouraging mums to stop fussing around trying everything they can think of and instead just observe their baby for a few seconds. Following her crib sheet, I started to listen properly to Madeleine's cries, look at the shape of her tongue (e.g. curled when hungry), and suddenly it all became clear. Almost overnight I was able to very quickly work out whether she was hungry, overstimulated, tired, bored, etc, and as a result there were far fewer tears in our house - from both of us!!
The crib sheet in the Baby Whisperer was put together based on a lifetime of experience with lots of different babies. I don't know what the Baby Whisperer's success rate is, but I know it worked for me and my life was miles better for it.
When the Cry Translator iPhone app was tested, a staggering 96% of the babies stopped crying when their carers followed the translation and suggestions given by the app. Mind you, it was in a controlled environment, but that is still a remarkable success rate.
Personally I think this little app, though pricey, has the potential to transform those first few weeks for any new mum, and even for experienced mums with a new baby and different cry - in the same way that The Baby Whisperer transformed my life. In a way it's just a portable high-tech version of Tracy Hogg's advice, and gives new parents another tool to help them understand their new baby, enjoy more tear-free time with their new little family. After a few days following Tracy Hogg's advice, my interpretations of Madeleine's cries started to get quicker and more accurate. Her crib sheet soon became positive reinforcement for me as a parent - I would think "ah, she must be hungry", then quickly check the list and find that my guess also matched what Tracy suggested, feed her, and feel pretty fantastic about myself and my ability to finally get what my little girl was telling me. After a couple of weeks I felt completely in tune with her.
My gut feeling is that this new iPhone application may well help new mums and dads build their self-confidence as parents, and trust their instincts just as The Baby Whisperer did for me, and that can only be a good thing.
I'd love to know what other mums and the parenting experts think - just leave your comments below, and please forward this onto your friends.
Just a word about the comments - if you're going to slate it please consider the feelings of mums and dads who may be struggling with a crying baby. Some of the comments on the Sun's article were quite insulting and made me feel a bit, well, sad.
I look forward to reading your comments!
PS - Click here to download the Cry Translator from iTunes (UK) - If you do decide to try it out, please come back to this blog and let me know how you got on!!
P.P.S. - If you've come across this blog because you're looking for support or advice, some good sources outside of your friends and family are big parenting communities like Netmums , and your midwife or health visitor. If you need immediate advice or support, I would recommend calling the Cry-Sis helpline, 08451 228 669.
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