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Baby boys need more attention

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The human male is, on most measures, more vulnerable than the female. Part of the explanation is the biological fragility of the male fetus by the time a boy is born he is on average developmentally some weeks behind his sister...
Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Don’t run to him every time he cries- you will spoiling the baby. Boys need to be toughened up to be sissies.” Only crazy people who completely misunderstand of how babies develop can say that.  Babies rely on tender, responsive care to grow well—resulting in self-control, social skills, and concern for others.  and boys need it even more

Life experience influence boys significantly more than girls:

  • Boys mature slower physically, socially and linguistically.
  • Stress – regulating brain circuitries mature more slowly in boys prenatal.
  • Boys are affected more negatively by early environmental stress, inside and outside the womb. Girls have more built-in mechanisms that foster resilience against stress. 
  • Boys are more vulnerable to maternal stress and depression the womb, birth trauma (like separation from mother), and unresponsive  caregiving .These traumas significantly impact  part of the brain  development that establishes self-regulatory brain circuitry related to self-control.
  • Newborn boys show higher cortisol levels – hormone indicating stress.
  • At six months, boys show more frustration than girls do. At 12 months, boys show a greater reaction to negative stimuli.

The human male is, on most measures, more vulnerable than the female. Part of the explanation is the biological fragility of the male fetus by the time a boy is born he is on average developmentally some weeks behind his sister: “A newborn girl is the physiological equivalent of a 4 to 6 week old boy”.

If newborn boys are less mature than girls then they require more attention. “Infant boys are more emotionally reactive than girls. They display more positive as well as negative affect, focus more on the mother, and display more distress and demands for contact than girls. Girls show more interest in objects, a greater constancy of interest, and better self-regulation of emotional states.”

Boys tended to be too excitable, and mothers did all they could to soothe and settle them, at some cost to their development. 

Boys are more affected by maternal postnatal depression than girls, the effect extending into nursery school years, long after the depression has lifted. Mothers did not judge any of their daughters to be angry, only their sons.

Something important to know of you have not only an infant in a house, but a older baby: tracings of heart rate variability suggested that the boys were more anxious; they could not tolerate the infant’s distress (that means crying). 

Nor can they tolerate their own. The boys’ denial of loss or sorrow is consistent with the male habit of not knowing how he feels and not asking for help when it is needed. In one sample of British GPs male doctors showed more anxiety and depression than female doctors (and more than the average male population) and were more likely to avoid contact with other people when stressed.

The care of boys is generally more difficult and therefore more likely to go wrong. Since most of the human brain development takes place after birth, some early environmental stressors could lead to disadvantage for boys being “wired in.” 

So just be gentle and patient with your baby boy – accept his feelings, let him cry, let him be angry, let him express all his emotions as you let it to your baby girl. 

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