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Help my baby is unsettled..

5 Jan 2019

Can’t understand what your baby wants or needs? Try the three “T” method to calm and connect with baby massage

Take the three “T” approach

Having a new baby can feel like you have been dropped into a foreign country with no map and where you don’t speak the language or understand the culture.

The more you read about what you “should” be doing, the more complicated things can appear to be. Trying the latest way to stop your baby crying can confuse, exhaust and is often not based on the science of what babies really need.

I have been there. With a daughter with colic who screamed constantly from 3pm to 10pm at night everyday for about a month, I read all the books, took advice and tried everything.

My babies are all big now but I support parents and babies across the world with baby massage. I read into the science of what babies need (and what parents need) a lot. In fact I am a self confessed geek. The reason is because I find it interesting that we, as parents, manage to complicate and overthink what is in essence a completely natural process, guided by hormones and instinct (I am not judging, I have overthought as a parent many times!)

So I created the three T approach to try to simplify things. To bring everything back to basics.

First T

Tune in

Babies are trying to connect and communicate with us from day 1. Okay it takes a few months before they can start to say words but they are communicating all the time with their body language and cries. Babies have well recognised stress cues which they use to tell us they need support. They are;

Crying or fussing
Gagging, spitting out
Red eyebrows
Frowning, grimacing
Hiccoughing, yawning, sneezing
Becoming red, pale or mottled
Irregular breathing
Jittery or jerky movements
Agitated or thrashing movements
Falling asleep
Turning eyes, head or body away from you or the person who is talking
Salute, finger splay
Limp or stiff posture
Back arching

These signs often tell us that babies are disengaged and need help. If we can spot this cues and respond, it may prevent more urgent communication like crying which is stressful for both parent and baby. In fact, there are scientific studies that support that increased mother and baby interaction can reduce crying.

Understanding your baby’s early language and cues means you are more in tune with your baby and this can increase the bond between you. In baby massage, we always look for these cues throughout practice as we never massage a baby who is disengaged.

Look for these cues throughout your baby’s day and then respond by offering all the good stuff in the Second T below…..

Second T

Touch

Babies feel safe and secure when they have physical contact with you. Touch and physical connection is how babies feel attached to us and how they navigate the world. The more physical connection you have with your baby in the early days the better. It’s good for both of you and helps to release oxytocin which has numerous positive effects for babies and parents.

Now all babies are different so some might like massage, some cuddles, some baby wearing and some gentle stroking but any kind of nurturing touch helps to activate your baby’s relaxation responses and regulate his emotional state. Touch is the fastest and simplest way to reassure your baby he is safe and secure and to calm him. Your arms, in essence are all you need (and patience).

If you like science, a 2008 study published in the journal Infant Behaviour Development showed that among a small randomised group of premature babies, massage over a period of five days reduced stressful behaviours observed in the group.

(Preterm Infants Show Reduced Stress Behaviours and Activity after 5 days of Massage TherapyMaria Hernandez-Reif, Miguel Diego, and Tiffany Field)

Try practising baby massage for short periods in the day when your baby is calm. The best time is after a sleep and 45 minutes after a feed.

Third T

Talk

Talk to your baby. Strike up a conversation. Ask her if she is okay and again tune in and listen. Make sure your baby knows she is being heard. It’s through talking and eye contact that the bonding process continues and it will help you feel more connected to your baby. You will soon get to know what she is trying to tell you.

Also this third T is for you….

Parenting can feel hard. Ask for help. Talk to your partner, family or friends. Get online and talk to other mums. It’s through sharing our vulnerabilities we grow and develop. No one knows what to do when they have a baby but everyone can learn and trust the process.

The Three T’s will not only help your baby but it will also help you. (My fourth T would be TEAM. You are your baby are in this together and my fifth T….TRUST each other)

Let me know how you get on

Much love

Gayle xx

 

PS-Does this resonate with you?

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