Stressed if ignored for 2 minutes.

Sarah - posted on 08/25/2010 ( 20 moms have responded )




So I read this article and rolled my eyes to be honest.

A baby who is deprived of its mother's love for just two minutes is anxious about being ignored again the next day, a study found.

Experts in child development said that repeated episodes of stress could have a huge effect on a youngster's health and on his or her course in life.

Babies were placed in car seats and their mothers played with them and talked to them as normal.
The play was then interspersed with two-minute periods in which the mother simply stared over her child's head, keeping her face free of emotion.

The next day, she took her child back to the laboratory. Levels of cortisol were measured several times on both days. Amounts of cortisol shot up when the babies were ignored.
They then fell off, before rising again when the youngsters were taken back into the laboratory, despite them not being ignored on the second day.

I think that it's more likely to be the 2 minutes spent with the mum "keeping her face free of emotion" that's the problem, rather than being "ignored". I mean who looks at their child with no emotion in their faces?!?!?!

Anyway, do you think it's a load of old nonsense......or another sign that AP style parenting is the way to go?


Charlie - posted on 08/25/2010




Do you know whats more disturbing than the actual study ?

What kind of mother would willingly volunteer her baby to part of a study with possible detrimental effects ?

Sharon - posted on 08/25/2010




lmao - if these studies were real - then none of us should ever have made it into the real functioning adult stage. Starting back in the caveman days when all we did was lay around in the back of a cave on a flea infested bear rug (if your parents were wealthy). puhlease. how does your baby see your face swaddled to your back? how does your baby see your face when in the baby sling? I guess moms aren't allowed to shit shower & shave any more huh? fuck those people.

Sara - posted on 08/31/2010




I agree with you, Sarah. I mean, last night my daughter got upset because I hurt my ankle and was visibly in pain. I don't think she was upset or stressed because I wasn't paying attention to her, she was reacting to me.

To answer your other question though, this is what pisses me off about the whole parenting style debate. There is no conclusive study that supports any method of parenting. There's no longitudinal data to say that one way is better than another. I mean, at the end of the day, if you're meeting your child's emotional and physical needs, I think they're going to be ok! "Studies" like this tend to take pretty big leaps when trying to draw conclusions from their data, IMO.

Ez - posted on 08/25/2010




I strongly believe in AP, but this study proves nothing (perhaps besides what Becky was referring to regarding the effects of parental mental health issues). Now if they had taken the mother out of the room, then tested the cortisol levels, that would be a more accurate depiction of the stress levels of babies being left unattended.

Obviously, we are only one person and only have two hands, so we can't physically be with our child every waking moment. But there is an abundance of legitimate research saying that by keeping separation to a minimum in the early months, you pave the way for a more confident and independent child. My own daughter is testament to this theory. I even used to go to the toilet with her in her sling! But by the time she was mobile she was happy to explore on her own, leaving me with more time. The pay off was definitely worth it.

Johnny - posted on 08/25/2010




I do think that babies, newborns, need fairly constant attention and nurturing. That being said, I think studies such as this are really over-exaggerating the situation. It is unlikely that there has been a time in human history or a culture where babies were not ignored for at least a few minutes from time to time, and yet we've all survived. The idea of paying constant attention to a baby at all waking moments actually concerns me. I am a big believer in attachment theory, but if an individual has no opportunity to spend time without interaction, how can they develop their own internal voice and manage being unattended ever? I agree Sarah, I suspect that having the mom show "no emotion" may have been the troubling part for the baby. It could be very confusing. I was a baby-wearer, and there were plenty of times that while I was wearing her, I was busy doing something else and not constantly attending to her. So I really don't even think that AP style parenting would avoid "ignoring a baby for 2 minutes". Can you imagine how stressed parents would be if they could never ignore their baby, not even for a couple of minutes? I think that would do more harm to kids.

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Isobel - posted on 08/31/2010




maybe the babies were stressed out by the idea that their mothers had been taken over by the body snatchers...or dead...or whatever.

Having your mother stop and stare blankly over your head WOULD be would be distressing to me if my mother did that today.

Jocelyn - posted on 08/28/2010




Jeeze when somebody stares past me with no emotion on their faces I gotta say I get a little stressed out too.

Tara - posted on 08/28/2010




As an AP mom to 6 babies I would have to say it was the expressionless face that freaked the babes out. If you had removed mom from the room, and tested levels of stress hormones it might be different but you would also have to account for the fact the baby is in unfamiliar surroundings. Not just the fact that they can look, but babies also tune into their environment by smell and sound as much if not more than by sight at that age.
AP parenting doesn't need to be proven in my books all we really need to do is look at cultures where it is the norm and see how their children and babies behave and we'll all see the benefits.

Stifler's - posted on 08/26/2010




My kid plays on the floor with his toys wherever I am like on the kitchen floor with serving spoons while I do the dishes and cook etc. and he's busy playing not worrying whether I am paying attention to him! They were 6 months old not 3 weeks. I agree with the others they were probably freaked out by the blank expression.

Katherine - posted on 08/25/2010




Babies were placed in car seats and their mothers played with them and talked to them as normal.
The play was then interspersed with two-minute periods in which the mother simply stared over her child's head, keeping her face free of emotion.

They should have had the mother LEAVE not stand there like an ass. I'd be stressed out too.
I'm all for AP, I am AP, but this is ludicrious. What a crappy study.
It doesn't show diddly squat and it's the worst study I've ever heard of.

Tah - posted on 08/25/2010




if my mom looked over my head now with her face free of emotion i would be stressed and im 29...where do they come up with this stuff to even do a study on...this is why i dont use them often....

Charlie - posted on 08/25/2010




I dont think they are saying if you leave them for two minutes they are ruined for life i think the most important line is :Experts in child development said that repeated episodes of stress could have a huge effect on a youngster's health .

REPEATED being the point .

Young babies do need constant attention but reality dictates that paying attention 24 hours a day is just not possible , i strongly believe in Attachment parenting but i am realistic too like Carol i wear my baby but when i am wearing him and doing the dishes im paying attention to the dishes mainly , when i finish the dishes we play or cuddle up or if he gets squirmy i sing to him but he generally loves just looking around and cooing , i do think that babies are a little unaware of being a single entity for a couple of months after birth , They can still feel as though they are still one in the same as their mothers body much like experiencing phantom limb .

What is important is being attentive as much as possible and making that attention count .

I think the only way i think it could seriously harm a childs development is if a parent just dumped their child in a chair or bed all day while they did their own thing only stopping to feed and change their child , there is no love and attention in that kind of parenting , if a loved one repetitively ignored me i would be stressed to .

Becky - posted on 08/25/2010




I have heard of studies before that came to the conclusion that babies become distressed when their mothers do not respond to their efforts to get their attention. It was a similar situation - where the mother would be playing and interacting with the child and then would just let her face go flat and emotionless. The child would initially pick up there activity level trying to get the mother to react, and then would become distressed when the mother didn't react. But, like others said, that was a result of the mother remaining flat when the child tried to interact with her, not of the mother leaving a content child in his or her swing or bouncer or on the floor while she pees or showers or fixes dinner! I'm sure some fanatics will take it to mean we should interact with our babies every waking hour, but that's just ridiculous!
Actually, when I learned about the studies, it was in a seminar on the effects of parental mental health issues on children, and was meant to demonstrate how a depressed parent who had a very flat affect could affect her child's emotional development.

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Why would you sit there and stare over your baby w/ no emotion? My '2 minute break' would be going pee or something. Staring over your kids w/ no emotion isn't 'ignoring' them. It would freak ME out if someone were to stare near me like that... can't imagine what a little baby is thinking....

Johnny - posted on 08/25/2010




When my daughter was colicky I once (note that I said once) washed my hair with her in the wrap on my front. I was desperate. I wouldn't recommend it though. I just wanted to wash my hair in peace without listening to screaming.

Sharon - posted on 08/25/2010




Now that I think about it - the study isn't promoting good parenting or even better parenting - its promoting poor hygiene.

Heather - posted on 08/25/2010




i agree with u i think this is abunch of bs i dont think 2 minutes affected the kid that much probably because the mother looked crazy staring off for 2 minutes with out smiling or anything.

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