No matter how experienced you are or no matter how many books you have read or schedules you have created, it is not very often things go according to plan without any “hiccups”.
Many of us moms strive to be Super Mommies juggling baby (or babies!), the house, chores, errands, meals and work too oh, I almost forgot, Hubby! We cannot forget about him.
I know when I had my guy I was told to “relax” so many times that I thought I was going to lose my mind.
How the heck could I relax with so much to do?
My lactation consultant told me it was imperative to relax and that the baby felt my stress.
Then my midwife told me “if he is not sleeping or crying, just relax, take a few deep breaths and try not to tense up because he could feel it and would respond negatively” (as in more crying and more awake time!).
As much as I kept saying, “I am! I am trying! I am trying!” I really wasn’t giving it my best shot.
When I actually focused and started to chill out, take in the moment, gaze down at my son and let it be and sit contently, things started to shift.
The anxiety inside me started to soften, I started smiling more, tension in my shoulders and neck disappeared, breast feeding got easier and Chase was taking in more, crying lessened (for both me and Chase!), my husband and I started having actual conversations instead of battling with decisions and challenges- we started to work together- and I finally “got it.”
Babies and children are very sensitive to social barometers. When parents stress, the kids are going to be stressed.
“When parents are consumed by their worries,” says Andrew Garner, MD, “they are less attentive to the needs of their baby, which can leave the baby feeling isolated and afraid.
Kids also learn from modeling, so you model the way you manage stress. If you model good stress management — taking a deep breath, counting to 10, making time for exercise — they learn from that.”
Toxic stress can impair the connection of brain circuits and lead to the development of a smaller brain.
Children can become overly reactive to adverse experiences throughout their lives, developing a low stress threshold.
High levels of stress hormones can suppress the body’s immune response, leading to chronic health problems. And sustained high levels of certain stress hormones can damage areas of the brain important for learning and memory.
Developing good coping tools to help you manage your stress is essential. That way, your little one isn’t overwhelmed by it or stressed more than necessary. And the situation doesn’t escalate into something more severe.
The less stressed your baby is, the more they will respond to you, the better they will eat, the better they will sleep, and so on.
So what can you do to de-stress?
I have been part of the crowd that says, “I don’t have time for yoga, or exercise or a night out or even a shower for goodness sake”! But I not so quickly realized, making time for myself is a parenting responsibility.
I am not being selfish. I am doing this for my child just as much as I am doing it for myself. Relieving stress in your own life simply benefits both you and your baby.
Now onto that bubble bath with lavender oil…after the load of laundry comes out of the dryer.
Janey Reilly, founder and principal of WeeSleep, is a leading professional infant and toddler sleep coach. Janey believes that providing infants and toddlers positive sleep skills in a gentle and guided way will in turn not only create healthier children but healthier and more joyful parents with a more balanced home life.
Find her at www.weesleep.ca or call or email today to get some advice and sleep right away! 289.983.6464
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