• Jodi

5 Ways to Ground Yourself When Dealing With A Fussy Baby

*when in doubt as to why your baby is being fussy please always consult your physician

*the following information is not in place of medical advice

Parents may not always want to admit it but babies can be very fussy. Some may be more sensitive than others but all babies just like adults have difficult days. The difference is babies can not yet manage their emotions or tell you why they need to cling and cry on you for what feels like weeks at a time.

At some point in the first year you will likely find yourself ready to pull out your hair, just wanting to know why your baby is so upset, why they are not eating or why it feels like they regressed. Often times, parents run to Facebook where they receive a plethora of advice typically surrounding "maybe its teething" or "they might have an upset stomach what are you eating (for breastfeeding) or what formula are you using?" While both of the above could definitely be the issue, it could also just be that your baby is going through one of the many developmental leaps that appear every few weeks through the first year and beyond.*

These leaps will rear their ugly head with a multitude of different symptoms such as clinging, crying, fussy eating and trouble sleeping. But on the flip side you will see your baby trying new skills and exploring the world in a way completely different from how they did before. We can't blame babies for being clingy or moody when they are developing. Place yourself from the viewpoint of your baby, their whole world continuously changes every few weeks. Then to make matters worse - in order for them to be able to understand all of these changes and what appears to be a new world they have to put in all of this work and exploration to make sense of it again. This is very stressful and the ability to articulate their feelings has not yet developed so they grasp at the one constant, their safe place, their parents.

Now if you are a parent or primary caregiver currently in the midst of a fussy phase and are feeling overwhelmed I want you to take a deep breath. So take a deep breath in.... and a deep breath out. It will be okay, you are doing a great job and this too will pass.

Taking a deep breath is a great, easy way to let go of frustration but it is not always enough. Let's take a look at other ways you can ground yourself and let some of that frustration go. Please remember, before trying any of these grounding tips, that there is either another capable adult supervising your baby or that they are in a safe place where you can keep an eye on them.

  1. Breathe-FS

I know I said deep breathing isn't always enough. However, this type of breathing is one step above when it comes to relieving that frustration. What you want to do is take a deep breath in and then as you breathe out make the "f" sound continuously. As you come to the end of the exhale switch that sound to the "s" sound to finish off the exhale. Repeat this 10 times.

If you enjoy deep breathing but need something a little more guided I recommend the Calm App which has some program options that will guide you through a few minutes of breathing.

2. Listen to Music

Everyone has their own musical tastes and preferences so if you have some music you can listen to that really helps you relax then by all means give it a try. However, if you are unsure what kind of music will soothe you in this situation, try putting on some classical music, particularly Mozart. Babies typically respond really well to classical music so this music choice could be very soothing for the two of you.

3. Get some fresh air

While this seems simple so many people overlook how helpful a few minutes of fresh air can be. If possible try to be outside for 15 minutes as this should be enough time to help boost your oxygen which in turn re-energizes you and improves your concentration. This one gets two thumbs up from me because not only is it easy but you can bring baby with you. The fresh air is good for them too!

Want to get the most out of your time outside? add in a walk because then you can replenish your oxygen levels while getting in some exercise which releases the endorphins needed to help make you happy!

4. Try a contrast shower

Contrast showers, which are often used by athletes, involve alternating between hot and cold water, spending a couple minutes under the hot setting and then a minute or two under the cold. This alternation of temperatures should help you feel re-energized.

5. Just Smile

Find a mirror and smile into it, even if at that moment the smile you need to put on is "fake." Your body will release dopamines and neuropeptides, which help you fight off stress, every time you smile (even the fake ones).

**Please remember if you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with thoughts of aggression please call someone immediately to come help so you can step away and reset. Hurting and/or shaking a baby is NEVER okay and can result in permanent damage and/or death.

Taking a moment or two to reset each day will hopefully help you remain calm through the developmental leaps. A calm mind will also allow you to really notice your baby working through their new skills and abilities so that you can then help them make sense of it all.

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