Anyone who's held a crying baby knows it’s easy to talk about staying calm and kind. It’s much harder to actually do so in the moment.
But it's just so hard for a baby to settle in the arms of someone who is frantic or agitated. It’s really important for us to try to stay calm so we can help our babies be calm.
How to find calm when they're screaming
If you’re baby is screaming and you find yourself getting anxious, frustrated or angry, here are some handy tips for staying calm:
- Live in the moment, the here and now: try not think about what’s for dinner or the gas bill right now. Sometimes easier said than done, but being present with your baby will help you show kindness.
- Think of five things you can feel, five things you can hear, five things you can see: focus your mind to bring it back to the here and now.
- Focus on relaxing your body as much as you can: think calming thoughts such as ‘At least baby won't be doing this when they are 18!'
- Take three or four deep breaths: this has the potential to change the physiology of your brain and instantly sooth you - so simple yet so powerful.
- Focus on your shoulders: try to drop them down a little to relax your neck and upper back.
- Try to imagine what it must be like for your baby: it's so important they have someone with them as they navigate this scary world.
It may feel like your baby is acting up on purpose, but it's the only way they have to communicate. They’re just trying to have a need met but it can be very overwhelming for you.
Be in the moment
Say to yourself ‘depression is about the past, anxiety is about the future and right now is about calm’. Visualise leaving the past back there somewhere, the future over there somewhere else, and be right here in the moment with the present.
Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
Your baby needs you to be a calm and kind presence. If you often feel overwhelmed, talk to someone because these feeling can be quite normal. Speaking to someone who’s not immersed in the intensity of raising a baby can help you see beyond the difficult moments.
With some help and awareness, you’ll be able to take charge of your emotions and be emotionally available for your baby when they need you to be.
Author: Helen Stevens. RN. RM. MCHN. Manager of Clinical Services, Education and Research.
Parent Infant Consultants. 0411880720.