Fear often flashes through a new mothers eyes when her newborn starts to cry. What does the baby need? Why is he crying? What do I need to do to fix it? No one likes to listen to a baby cry, it causes everyone stress, especially the new mother. Calm your world down, pick up that crying baby and start nursing it, then read further for more stress relief.
1. First take a deep breath and relax.
2. Read this simple overview of what your newborn needs. From Erick Erickson’s Eight Stages of Development we learn that the first and most important thing your infant learns is Basic Trust Versus Basic Mistrust. If you Infant learns to trust then they gain the ability to have hope. “Chronologically, this is the period of infancy through the first one or two years of life. The child, well – handled, nurtured, and loved, develops trust and security and a basic optimism. Badly handled, he becomes insecure and mistrustful.” It is in this initial handling that you create in the babies mind a safe world where their needs are met, or a hostile world where there needs are not met. The more safe and cared for your baby feels the more your baby learns to trust the world, and the happier your baby will be.
3. Read more about your babies development. From Jean Piaget’s Stage Theory we learn that in Substage One your baby learns through Basic Reflexes. Thus a Newborns world is like this. I am hungry I must suckle. But if the infant is not supplied with suckling at the moment that they feel a need the naive infant starts to panic. In my opinion what goes through the newborn infants mind is something like this. “I am hungry, and I am sucking but there is nothing here to satisfy my hunger. Thus I am in peril of starving to death.”
4. Summed up in one sentence. When your baby cries nurse him. There it is, the solution to all your babies needs. Whenever your baby cries nurse her. But, you will say, scratching your head, this is too simple. Simple yes it is, but not too simple. Let me explain further.
5. Now that your baby is nursing you can visually watch the dear little thing relax. Do you see those muscles release their tension. Take inspiration from them, relax your muscles, release that tension. Now you can think clearly. It is most difficult to think about what you need to do when the baby is crying. Relax, take advantage of this moment of rest.
6. Look at that nursing baby. Look at how she trusts you, how she feels safe and comfortable. In one simple act of nursing you have taught your baby that the world is safe, that she is safe. You have taught the baby to trust, and you have given it the ability to hope. You have taught your baby, “when I am hungry I am fed.” “When I cry I am comforted.” “When I have needs I am cared for.” “I am held warm and lovingly by my mother.” Did you know there were so many wonderful lessons all wrapped up in nursing your little infant? Erick Erickson believed that these were the most important lessons for your baby to learn at first. If your baby did not learn these lessons first then the rest of his life would be disrupted and unsuccessful. These lessons must be learned first before any other lessons, everything builds on this. If a child does not learn to trust the world they will have to go back and learn trust before they can build on to it with any other positive lessons. Follow Ericksons advice nurse now to teach your child to trust, nurse now to raise a healthy adult.
7. But, you will say, there is more to raising a child then nursing, What about changing diapers, etc. Now that the baby is calm and you are calm run through the checklist in your head. Does the baby need a diaper change? Go ahead and check it while your baby nurses. Is the baby cold? Hot? Wet? Check the babies skin to see what temperature. This is easy to do now that you are holding the baby close to you. Take care of the needs you think the baby has. It is easier to do now that he and you are calm.
8. Look over your baby and see if it is physically giving you ques that might tell you it has other needs. If it is time for the babies nap most likely you just solved that problem and the baby is dozing off right now. If the baby wanted some attention you also just solved that, you are sitting down and doing nothing but caring for it. If you have a slightly older baby that wants attention most likely she will happily nurse until her muscles are relaxed, then she will stop nursing and turn to look at you and smile. That’s a dead give away that she wants attention. (Hold the baby up infront of your face and talk to her. Babies are really simple little creatures, a little bit of face to face talking goes a long way.)
9. Give Quantity time not Quality time. There is a common myth among mothers that our children need Quality time, when actually they need Quantity time. What matters to young children is consistency. As your dear little one coos and tries to steal you away from your to-do’s remember this… A little goes a long way. If you respond quickly to your little ones needs then you catch the problem when it is little, and your baby only requires a little bit of attention to fix it. If you do not respond quickly then your little one has gotten all worked up and it will take more time to calm them down. Your baby only needs a little bit from you right now. Try not to get overwhelmed and think about every thing your baby needs, think about the little bit he needs right now, and do it. Keep it simple. A toddler would much rather get a hug from his mother every time he comes to her for one, then sit and read a book for a long time. Infants and children have short attention spans. All they know is “right now I need attention.” Supply for that attention quickly and they happily run off, or sit and coo, content with your quick recharge. If you teach a child “when I need attention I get it.” They feel safe and secure in the knowledge. A child that feels they have to steal attention, to make their mother give them attention, is constantly in pursuit of that attention, and constantly in fear of not getting it.
10. Now that your baby is calm, his belly is full, his most pressing needs are taking care of (like diaper changes and needing mama time.) you have to get back to the rest of your world. While you are still sitting there calm and relaxed think of what you can do to best help this baby stay happy. Can you carry them in a sling while you work? Can you sit them in a bouncy chair where they can watch you flit about the house and clean it? Can you give them an interesting object to put in their mouth? Add something into your little child’s field of experience that will help him sustain his current form of contentment longer. Once properly cared for and set up to something interesting you should have gained some time to get the rest of your world in order.
* This method will still work as your child gets older. When he falls down, nurse him. When he is sad because a toy broke nurse him. Etc. This method is so simple and takes much stress out of your life. When the baby starts to cry you don’t have to start to stress about what you should do. Nurse the baby and when both you and he are clam you will get other ideas about how to help him further.
* Remember each time you quickly and efficiently help him stop crying and take care of his needs you teach him to trust the world, that it is safe. And you make him into a more confidant individual. You will find if you keep up with this that your baby cries allot less then other babies, that your baby calms down easier, that your baby is more safe and secure feeling. You may find to your surprise that you have a harder time parting with your baby then he has with you. He knows you will be there when he needs you so he is not worried.
* If you can not come right away when the baby cries start to communicate with it. Say things like. “I hear you, I am coming as soon as I can. But I must get the cake out of the oven before it burns. Wait just a min.” You baby might not stop crying when you tell it what you are doing, and that you are on your way. But the baby will still learn from this pattern. Keep talking to the baby even if it is crying, even if it is crying loud enough it can not hear you. Keep telling it you will come as soon as you can. Young infants and children learn through repetition. Eventually your young baby will learn to wait patiently when it must. Singing this to your child can give the child added comfort. Repeatedly sing something like this. “I am coming ,coming coming, I am coming to help you.” It is silly I know but it works. Just keep repeating, your baby will learn through repetition and patterns.
* For an older baby you can help him learn to wait for something through repetious singing also. Like when my 18 month old wants to join his older sisters outside and is crying because he can not open the door. I scoop him up in my arms and as I bundle him up to go out side I sing something like this “You are going outside after your coat is on, you are going out side after your shoes are on…” This repitious song can help them gain confidence that their needs will be met and teach them about processes.
* Eventually you will become like the baby whisperer and know what your baby needs. But even still there will always be times when you do not know what your baby needs or how to help them be happy, at these times start with nursing to make things more simple for you and your baby.
* When it is time for you to leave your child with someone else do not sneak out when your baby is not looking. If you do you will loose your childs trust. Even your young infant will learn to trust you through repition. I may be silly but when my child is old enough to notice me leaving him I pick them up and tell them. “Mama is leaving you for about 2 hours, Aunt Dee will be here to take care of you, and I will be back soon.” If you consistently tell your child you are leaving and consistently tell them you are coming back, they will learn to trust you. If a child is afraid that you will sneak out on them at any time they will try harder to not let you get away with that trick. Tension will rise and it will get harder and harder to sneak out. Better to let the child cry at parting at first and gain trust. Then to break their trust and sneak out and have the child cry anyways when they realize that you snuck away.
* If you are just switching to this on-demand-nursing method you will find that all transitions are difficult. Your baby will want to test the waters and make sure that you will pick him up and comfort him whenever he wants you to. You will find that at first your baby will need and ask for much much more attention. Like with every other thing in life your baby is testing the new limits. Have faith and know that once you teach your child “I will respond quickly to your needs.” He will gain confidence in this fact and develop confidence in this fact, and need attention less, and be comforted more quickly.
* Every where you turn you can get advice on how to raise a baby, and most likely you do get it everywhere you turn weather or not you want it. Much of this advice will come at you in a black and white form. “You must do X inorder to be a good mother, if you don’t do exactly X everything will fail.” These doomsday ultimate predictions are never correct. You are a unique being, your baby is a unique being. What works for you and your infant is a unique solution that only you can find. No one can tell you what will work for you and your infant. They can only tell you what worked for them and their infant. Babies are resilient. Being a normal good mother, finding your own best way, making mistakes, and having imperfect moments is part of life. Please whatever you do do not cause yourself more emotional stress by being harsh on yourself if you do not follow my advice to the T, or anyone else’s advice. The way it works for me will not be the exact same way it works for you. Take in the parts that improve your life and leave out the parts that stress you. You are custom making your own unique solution.
* If your baby is in a social mood she will quickly wrap you around her little finger and make you forget all your to-do’s. Go with it, Your little darling is only this little for a short time.