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Infant Crying: Nature, Physiologic Consequences, and Select Interventions

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This article describes the nature of infant crying, the physiologic events and changes associated with it, and appropriate nursing interventions for infant crying. A cry is a series of four movements that basically resembles a Valsalva maneuver. Documented immediate and long-term sequelae of crying include increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced oxygen level, elevated cerebral blood pressure, initiation of the stress response, depleted energy reserves and oxygen, interrupted mother-infant interaction, brain injury, and cardiac dysfunction. Caregivers are encouraged to answer infant cries swiftly, consistently, and comprehensively. Kangaroo care is an efficient method for preventing, minimizing, and halting crying. Other interventions for crying include swaddled holding, a pacifier, sugar water, a sweet-tasting nonsucrose solution, heartbeat sounds, distraction by lullabies or mother's voice, rhythmic movement, and reduction of external stimuli.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-03-01

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