Have you ever had somebody yell at you to calm down? It’s not super helpful when you’re worked up. Rarely do you think ‘righto, thanks for saying that, I’m definitely calm now you have yelled at me’ (insert eye toll).
The best way to calm a person, any person, including a baby; is to try to be calm yourself.
Often when new parents are trying to settle their baby; I see so many furrowed brows and raised shoulders and quick breathing. It’s understandable not to be in the chill zone when you’re holding a screaming baby. But it’s very hard to calm another human when you are not calm yourself. I can sometimes feel the tension steaming off parents; so the baby most certainly can too.
Today I want to give you 6 ideas to help you remain calm to help calm your baby.
Don’t just breathe, you’re already breathing; More take note of HOW you are breathing: Take it nice and slow. Nice and deep. Nice and calm. Close your eyes if you need. Just for a moment. Put bub down if you have to, but take a minute to reground yourself. Open your eyes and one more deep breath and drop your shoulders and shake the tension away. Deep breathing is the ONLY thing that activates your parasympathetic nervous system: and tells the brain to chill on the cortisol production and actually calms you. Take one more deep breath. Better yeah?
2. Get some help reading your baby's cries.
Yeah, yeah, they are crying because they need something. But until they can say ‘yo parent, can we get a nappy change over here please?’ You’re going to have to try and decipher the cries. As part of that you need to work out which cries are urgent. Not every cry requires you to pick them up immediately. I am definitely an advocate for a soothing cuddle, BUT it’s not the only way to soothe. Baby cries can mean many things; from tired to frustrated, hungry to a lost dummy or there MAY be maybe something that needs immediate attention. Getting your head around what each cry means, and understanding what’s urgent (and whats not) will help keep you out of panicsville.
3. Karaoke, nursery style.
Singing can be super calming. And babies love their parents singing to them they find it soothing. We’re not talking banging out Queen B, “who runs the world” But sing away in a nice soothing quiet voice when you are trying to calm them, it will probably have the same effect on you. I had a little song that I always sang to my children, having a set tune meant I wasn’t adding to the stress by having to think of a song and it was familiar to the children. They all would request it when they were older and needed soothing eg in time of sickness.
4. Keep your own cup full.
Make sure you have time to fill your own cup. I can’t repeat this enough. Me time is so important. It means you can replenish yourself to be able to keep giving to your family. It doesn’t have to be a big lavish day out at a spa or full on lunch with your girlfriends. It can be 15 minutes reading a book with a cup of tea while all the other ‘should be doings’ can wait.
5. Make sure your baby is not overtired.
When a baby is overtired this is the time that they really find it difficult to relax and will probably be the most stressful time for you. If you are working to settle a baby at the best time for them; you will have a much easier time of it.
6. Be kind to yourself.
Definitely do not beat yourself up. You are doing your best navigating this new world of parenthood. I see alot of mother guilt and I’ve never come across a situation where it was justified. Chin up legend. You’re smashing it!