The Unsettled Baby: Effects on the Parents and 5 Ways to Cope With Crying
Osteolife | June 15, 2018 | Uncategorized
Whether you’ve been a parent for a few days, several decades, or any length of time in between—one thing is certain. You experience a range of emotions when you see and hear your child crying. This is more so the case for new parents, who are often ill-prepared for parenting—especially when the child is “difficult.” As eager and hopeful as the parents may have been during pregnancy and the birthing process, the arrival of a fussy or unsettled baby can take a great toll on them in many ways.
What is an unsettled baby?
You’ve probably heard the term colic before. Or you may have heard people describe a crying baby as fussy, difficult, or unsettled. Many studies have evaluated what is considered “colic”, but there is not one standard definition. Some define colic based on the cause (e.g. lactose intolerance), while others look at the symptoms (e.g. the length and persistence of the baby’s crying). Many agree that colic can be due to a misalignment of the baby’s spine, which might have been caused during birth.
If you’re a parent of an unsettled baby, you may experience a range of emotions including frustration, anger, fear, anxiety and depression. Some studies have found as much as 42.5% mothers of colic infants reporting symptoms of moderate to severe depression, which places the parent-infant relationship at risk.
Furthermore, being unable to calm the baby may lead to feelings of inadequacy even if you are an experienced parent. When a child is inconsolably crying and you haven’t slept for a day or days, parental coping skills might literally go flying out of the window.
So what can you do if you have an unsettled baby? I’m sharing 5 tips below to help you, if this is what you’re experiencing.
What Parents Can Do
- Know that most babies do cry–some more than others. While this may not bring relief from the crying, you may at least know that there is probably nothing that you are doing to contribute to your baby’s crying spells.
- Seek professional help. Although finding the root cause of the crying is sometimes elusive, consider taking the baby to his or her pediatrician to determine whether there is an underlying health issue at play. For instance, sometimes the cause of colic is physical discomfort; osteopathy can often help with this to calm the infant’s crying.
- Get relief. Every parent wants to comfort their child to build love and a sense of security, especially when the baby is crying. However, if the baby is crying too much, it may simply be time for you to take a break and allow a loving caregiver to step in while you rejuvenate.
- Talk to other parents. Whether it’s having the empathic ear of a good friend or joining a support group, parents with an unsettled baby need support. Talking to other parents about what you are experiencing will help keep things in perspective, give you the reassurance that you are not alone, and even provide you with tips on how others have dealt with the challenges of having a baby who cries a lot.
- Practice self care. In order to properly take care of your baby, it’s critical that you take care of yourself. Make a conscious effort to get adequate sleep and eat healthy meals to keep you nourished and energized.
Becoming a new parent can be one of the greatest joys you’ll ever experience despite your baby’s crying. Remember that help is available and you don’t have to feel alone in seeking answers that help you with caring for your fussy child. Use these 5 tips to help you on your journey towards calming your child and taking care of yourself in the process.
- Cox L and Roos V (2008) The experiences of first-time mothers with colic infants who seek help from medical professionals. Health SA Gesondheid, 13 (1), 4-13.
- Maxted, AE; Dickstein, S; Miller-Loncar, C; High, P; Spritz, B; Liu, J & Lester, BM (2005): Infant colic and maternal depression. Infant Mental Health Journal, 26(1):56-68.
- Oldbury S, Adams K. (2015) The impact of infant crying on the parent-infant relationship. Community Pract. 88(3):29-34.
- http://www.llli.org/nb/nbjanfeb07p30.html Retrieved 2016-04-06