A crying baby can really be an ordeal :-(. It feels like as parents you have to be ‘on’ all the time. You are never free, the crying can start again at any time. Parents with a ‘normal’ irritable baby can also do it. Because of all the stress, positive moments often slip in and bonding is at risk.
Research shows that as many as 70% of crying babies may become insecurely attached. That is really a lot. Fortunately, there is much you can do to bond with your baby in this dire situation. First the lifebuoy, and then three golden tips for you:
The lifebuoy: carry
Carrying your crying baby in a cloth or baby carrier is very nice for many parents and helps you to build a close bond, despite the difficult time. It can also sometimes (strongly) reduce crying. What I often hear from mothers as a babywearing consultant is: “It is that I wear him so much, but otherwise I am sure she would be a crying baby”. That is so special. Fortunately, the baby does not have to solve it herself, she is still much too small for that. She doesn’t have to cry in bed alone.
Sometimes the crying is resolved, the baby just needed a lot of contacts and nurturing. Unfortunately, the problem is often not really solved with a real crying baby. The baby remains irritable, restless, and does not sleep well. As a parent, you feel that something is wrong somewhere. This will cost you a lot of crumbs because now you are working every time to help the baby get to sleep or prevent him from crying again. If you ask at the clinic or in your area, there is a good chance that they will recommend that you teach the baby to sleep on her own, in her own bed, even if it makes her cry. In extreme cases, they even recommend hospitalization to give your parents peace of mind.
And this may also resonate with you because you also feel that it is not quite right that you are so continuously responsible for sleeping or keeping your baby calm. You are just very tired of it and you want a solution. And preferably right now.
Golden tip 1: take a step back
Try to take care of yourself. Reassure yourself: it just IS really tough and it’s normal to have it tough. When a baby is in alarm mode like this, it appeals to all your senses. You are programmed to respond to your crying baby with everything you have in you and this can trigger a major stress response in your own body. Hand over the concern so that you can recharge a bit. Ask for help!
When you are with your baby, you can try to keep feeling your own body, try to breathe and relax (no matter how difficult that may be). You can be sad, that makes sense, as long as you are present in your body. Your restless baby needs a stable ‘beacon’ to set itself up. If you go into chaos too, who will take care of him? This fine exercise may help with that.
Golden tip 2: take the time to review the things you do
Take another look at your baby from the point of view of his nature. How it was built. That’s called the blueprint. A baby is born with mainly the ‘animal’ part of the brain present. For example, your baby has a great need for body contact and security, he has a small stomach and brain that still work very slowly compared to ours. Carrying a lot, including keeping your baby with you at night, lots of small feedings, semi-upright feeding and reflux measures can help. An irritable baby can also benefit from kinetic handling: a way to connect with the slow movements that a newborn can make on its own. As a result, he understands better what is happening to him and is less frightened.
And: trust that your baby is trying to tell you something. Separating your baby is not the best solution from an attachment point of view. A baby never cries for anything. Believing in this may help you not to get angry with the baby: there really is nothing he can do about it. You do not want to know how many crying babies after years still find a cause for the former crying. I don’t mean to say that you should exhaust yourself looking for a cause. However, you can continue to search, with relaxation and within your means (osteopath, milk-free diet, massage, cystitis, etc.). But even if it is not possible to find a cause at the moment, you can still assume that your baby has a story that he is trying to tell by crying.
Golden tip 3: give space to your baby’s grief.
We are increasingly discovering that a newborn can already carry trauma. For example, because you had a lot of stress during your pregnancy, or because of surgery during the delivery. You can help your crying baby by naming what he has been through and accepting the grief about it. In this article, you can read more about a beautiful method to allow this grief while keeping your baby with you. By always staying in touch with your own body and breathing, you can form a safe basis in which your baby can express his grief. This sometimes leads to an attack of ‘memory crying’. If you can allow this under safe conditions, your baby can handle it. And you with that too :-).
Are you looking for help building a close relationship with your irritable baby? Or did your previous baby cry a lot and do you want to prevent that this time? There is a lot you can do to make the start with your baby easier this time around and your baby from becoming so irritable. Watch the online presentation on how to get close and have a happy baby here. And do you need more help? I am happy to guide you!