For a woman with postpartum mood disorder (PPMD) the sound of her baby crying can be a trigger of difficult emotions. What is going on? Is something really wrong? Should I take him to the hospital? Is she hurt, did I hurt her? Is he going to die?
The sound of the baby crying brings up different emotions in each woman. Some women become very scared and either want to hyper manage the situation others want to run away.
“What’s wrong with the baby, what’s wrong, something is wrong, something must be wrong!” The thoughts can begin to take over, creating anxiety for many mothers. It makes the unimaginable abuse of a baby easier to understand why “shaken baby syndrome” can occur. Some women will take the baby to the ER unnecessarily or just put the baby in the crib and close the door and leave leading to neglect.
Some babies cry very loudly and this alone can be very startling and upsetting for the mother with PPMD. The shock to her system can affect her adrenal glands and cause her to be unable to sleep, feel more anxious and worried.
How do you know if something is really wrong? First of all take a deep breath! Does the diaper need to be changed? Is the baby hungry? Is something poking or hurting the baby? Back in the old days the culprit might be a diaper pin!
Once you covered these common triggers, instead of trying to fix everything just sit and hold the baby. Maybe you want to cry too. Go ahead, the release of sad and pent up emotions is good for you too. Rock the baby & be in the feelings as you breath and let your fears go.
Once things have settled down in your own mind you can begin to look for the cause of baby’s distress beyond the obvious. Some babies have food sensitivities that most always results in stomach pain. You’ve heard of colic, it is pain in the stomach with gas and bloating.
The best way to reduce colic is to make sure that every time you nurse or feed the baby you take the time to burp her before you let her lie down. This will help gas to escape and not create pain in the intestines. Like Shrek says “Better out than in”. So, after feeding, first rock & burp the crying baby gently.
Hopefully you will get some relief from the crying and baby will feel more comfortable. Next move the baby to laying on his back. Now very, very gently take her feet and lightly bend her little knees. Bend them up towards his stomach in a smooth almost rocking motion. In yoga this is called the “wind relieving posture” and hopefully your baby will be relieved of gas.
You can do this for your self too. Lay on your back and pull your knees up towards your chest and if there is wind it will be released. Often the baby and the mother will be sensitive to the same foods, so next time I will discuss food allergies and sensitivities but for now if your baby is crying and you are feeling overwhelmed:
- Take a deep breath
- Does the diaper need to be changed?
- Is the baby hungry?
- Is something physically hurting the baby?
- Hold and rock the baby & yourself
- Begin gently patting baby on the back to burp
- Lay baby on the her back and gently bend the knees to the chest to release gas
If the crying is not better then consider medical attention.
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