My Baby's Crying Triggers My Anxiety
For many parents, crying is a trigger. They shift into a mode that swoops in to fix the crying, stopping it so that their baby doesn't feel the emotions that they themselves associate with crying. But all crying is not always emotional. For a baby, they have limited methods of communication and it's one of the few ways they've got to let you know that something is not right. When a baby communicates her needs we respond. What is she trying to tell you? We take a moment and observe. Is she cold? Uncomfortable? Hungry? Does she need a nappy change? Is she overtired? Then we meet those needs. Our aim isn't to stop the "communication" (otherwise known as "crying"). After you've met your baby's needs and she is still "communicating", listen to her. There are several ways that your baby communicates with you. Is her cry one of true distress? Are her physical signs that she's overwhelmed, red-faced, crying tears, struggling to breathe deeply, constant loud crying? That's a baby who needs connection. She needs you to hold her, to help her come down to ground zero, to help her see that you are there to help her come through her frustration on the other end and be ok. This is when you touch her, hold her, rub her back, hum a soothing song to her, nurture her. She needs you to help her breathe calmly again. Once calm, we can put her down again to sleep or to explore. If during these moments of touch and care, she still does not calm down after all needs have been met, you can take matters further and see a doctor. Are her sounds grunty, whingy, unsure, coming on and off again in irregular intervals? She's learning and needs her space to figure out her new environment. She's not ready for you to hold her yet. By all means be nearby and talk to her, letting her know that you are there, you see her, you are proud of her as she explores and learns and you know that she can do it. You proudly look on as she finds her own way. She will let you know if she's ready for you to help. Don't swoop in. Wait. Babies may cry when learning new skills. Mastering a new skill is difficult (even for grown ups!). Think of how many times people have a go at quitting an old habit. It's frustrating. Same for babies. Crying will be a part of that frustration. But that crying is ok. As they learn to move and crawl, they will be frustrated. When we teach them healthy sleep habits, they will let you know that they prefer the old way when they were a newborn and you held them to sleep. When we wean them off the dummy, it's a battle of the wills. As the parent, you want what is best for your little one. Helping them learn new skills, even when it's hard, is your job. You are your little one's coach. You know she can do it! Helping your little one come out on the other side as a master of new skills will be worth it. Your anxiety may try to convince you that your baby is not "ok". Learn to speak "true statements" out loud to help you achieve parenting confidence and calm. Clients and Parenting Solutions members have particularly enjoyed our Mantras Thru the Crying document to help battle their anxiety with Truth statements. Why not book a Coaching Call and discuss with your parent coach how to best meet your child's needs and be okay with their whole range of emotions?