Crying, an Alternative Perspective

Crying, an Alternative Perspective

When we here a child crying it can send anyone into “we must fix this” mode. This is very evident when a baby cries.

Often a baby’s caregiver will jump into action trying to find out why the baby is crying. For an infant, this is their main way to communicate with others. I firmly believe that when a baby cries it is a good idea to make sure their need is met. If you have met your baby’s needs(fed, changed and comfortable) and baby is still crying, your baby may just need to express emotion. Expressing emotion is the need. Babies express emotion through tears. This can be uncomfortable for adults.

A great way to put this in a different light is to compare a child crying with how good it feels to vent and drop an f-bomb every now and then. You release pent-up emotion. Emotion is “better out than in”. When we are constantly trying to stop our child from crying we are not giving them a chance to express the pent-up emotion.

With older children, we will often try to get our children to stop crying. Imagine when you are in the middle of a vent and someone shuts you down so you stop venting. You are still frustrated, angry or sad. You may actually have more intense feelings than you did when you started your vent. When you are given the chance to vent without judgment and with support from the person listening, it can feel like a weight has been lifted from you.

 

 So now what do you do when your child is crying or upset? 

 

You let them cry or be upset. This can be difficult if you are out. When you can, be present when your child is expressing their emotion. You can offer a hug if they want it. Using words like “I know it can be hard”, “I am here”, or “I love you”. If your child begins to throw insults your way, remember that it is their vent session. Afterwards, you can make comments like “wow you were awfully angry” or “you said some nasty words” and then move on with your day.

I wrote an article about tantrums that would be a good read in addition to this post. Once you have figured out if your child is having an “upstairs” or “downstairs” tantrum you can act accordingly.

Understanding Tantrums

95% of the time that our son is crying, screaming or having a tantrum, he is simply offloading some feelings from his day. After he is done he is back to the happy young man that he is. When he is stopped for whatever reason (it happens) he will be a cranky and non-compliant little guy.

So…

Let them express their emotion! Be present when you can and move about your day.

 

Baby Massage Benefits

 

Massage can be a great addition to your baby’s routine, with benefits for both you and him. Some of the many benefits of baby massage include:

  • Can enable babies to affirm their bond with their parents, older siblings, grandparents and other primary caregivers.
  • Massage relaxes the muscles and enables your baby to breathe deeper which helps with readiness for sleep.
  • Massage stimulates the Vagus Nerve in the body. This nerve helps with digestion, improved bowel movement plus helps to regulate the nervous system.
  • Babies who are regularly massaged can become calmer and less fussy.
  • Massage is a great way to offer ‘tummy time’.

An added benefit of baby massage is that it can help parents as well by:

  • Boosting confidence when handling a newborn.
  • Reducing parent stress.
  • Increasing a Parent’s recognition of their baby’s needs through this intimate touch.

As the proud parents of a newborn, you may want to massage your baby, but find you do not have time to include it in your baby’s routine for the first little while. That’s okay.

When your schedule shifts a bit, and you’re ready to try, be sure that your baby isn’t too tired before you begin as this could cause him to become upset rather than to feel relaxed.

You can begin to establish healthy sleep habits early on in your baby’s life, but trying to fit your new baby into a tight, fixed schedule too soon can bring much stress and frustration. Same goes with adding massage when you’re both not quite ready or you don’t have the time.

Take your time and enjoy the process.