And you thought only adults felt stressed! Babies can feel stressed too, and this could be characterized by apparent agitation, not being able to sit still, whining or crying. So what should you do when you baby feels stressed? Read on for some helpful tips:
- Touch and look at your baby often. Studies show that babies who are given multi-sensory stimulation – that is, babies who are often touched, hugged, talked to and kissed – are babies with the lowest stress and anxiety levels. It’s also interesting to note that babies who are given only tactile stimulation – that is, babies who are oftentimes touched but not looked at nor talked to – are actually the ones who showed the highest levels of stress. That’s why you should really make it a point to not just touch your baby, but to talk to her, and look at her in the eyes as well. This is specially important about 30 minutes before your baby’s feeding time.
- Let your babies sleep. Studies also show that babies who slept undisturbed have low stress levels. That’s why if your baby is sleeping, try to make her environment as peaceful and quiet as possible, to lower the chances that she’ll wake up before she wants to. Even if her diaper is wet, you should still let her sleep and change the diaper once she wakes up of her own accord.
- Give your baby a massage. This is another way to induce relaxation for your baby. Read this article for some tips on how to massage your baby.
- Reduce potential stressors at home. As much as possible, expose your baby only to gentle and soothing sounds and music. Avoid shouting angrily in the presence of your baby. Let your baby listen to classical music, and talk to your baby in soft, gentle, cooing tones. You should also let your baby smell some mild and familiar fragrances, as studies have shown that pleasant, familiar fragrances can reduce baby stress levels.
- Let your baby know that you’re always there for her. Babies are greatly disturbed when they are left alone or when they are not being noticed. Though eventually you will have to wean her out of this desire, it’s healthy for very young babies to be secure in the thought that they are valuable in their parents’ eyes. That’s why as much as possible, you should give her your attention – even if you’re doing something, take the time to look at her eye-to-eye and smile at her, just to reassure her that you haven’t forgotten her at all.
- Avoid exposing your baby to stressors outside the home. Some of the scenarios that have been shown to cause anxiety among babies are the following: crowded and too-brightly-lit areas, being left with a stranger (such as a babysitter), and too-loud noises.
- Give your baby a fixed routine. Babies love routine, because it helps them become more accustomed to a world that they’re just finding out about. For example, you could have a regular routine to follow before your baby sleeps, such as singing her a song and giving her a massage.
- Try to relax. Do know that babies whose parents are stressed tend to be stressed themselves. That’s why you should really make it a point to make yourself relaxed; your baby will pick up on this and adopt a same serene, peaceful attitude.
Remember that babies are very vulnerable and how you treat them and respond to them will greatly affect their lives even as adults. That’s why making the effort to ensure that your baby is a happy, healthy and stress-free baby will bring lifetime returns that perhaps even you cannot imagine. Good luck!