As Mini-man is moving from growth spurt to wonder week and growth spirt again, he is changing his sleeping schedule which makes him unsettled.
I have mentioned in the previous post on surviving sleepless nights with a newborn that his sleeping pattern were not at all mommy-sleep-friendly. So I have been tired and sleepy, and have these sudden waves of exhaustion overwhelming me.
Naturally, I get frustrated when I have just rocked him to sleep just to put him down and him popping his eyes open and starting to whale. Sounds familiar? Or my toddler running into the room screaming something at me or him: miss A -1; mommy – 0!
If you must know, the pregnancy and postpartum hormones mess us up quite a bit. We feel like there is just no room to breath, there are no clothes that haven’t been stained with a spit up, there isn’t a corner where a child can’t find you. I’m really not complaining, I’m merely admitting: yes, I get overwhelmed and tired.
At the same time I realise how hard it is for a newborn baby to cope. And so after having 3 babies I suddenly understood something: postpartum blues are not only something that happens to moms – it happens to babies too.
Here is a technique I came up with that is helping me to chase frustration away, help you and the crying baby to calm down and I would like to share them with you.
1. As you lean to pick up your baby, exhale with your whole body through your mouth slowly, saying long “who”. As you grab the baby and pull towards yourself, inhale with “is it?” Hug the baby tight in the middle of your chest, with one hand on the back of his head and one arm under his bottom. Baby’s legs should be bent in knee area and pulled up a bit – almost like sitting. Rock him in a slightly bouncy motion up and down, gently patting his back.
2. After few pats add a continuous “sh” sounds. Do it the following way: one long “sh” on exhale, followed by several shorter “sh-sh-sh” on the next exhale.
Please check the file below to listen how it should sound.
Note: you don’t need to stand for it. You can assume most comfortable position, however try to keep the baby as upright as possible.
Usually the baby starts settling down within a few minutes. Sometimes it takes a while. However, you will start settling too. There is something in the sound “sh” that calms you down and settles you. One of the reasons why (and you will notice it right away) – you need to make sure it is on exhales. So when you start controlling your breathing, you get a boost of oxygen and your mind clears from other thoughts and concentrates on one thing.
I hope this technique is useful for you. I have used “shushing” in the past but never so purposely. It is not a big science that using “sh” sound calms the babies (white noise). But now as I discovered it calms me too, I use it when I have to deal with my older children.
If that didn’t help, you can always scream into the pillow!
What are your relaxation techniques?