“DON’T TALK TO ME”, I snapped!
I need 20 minutes of quiet to just chill!
I’m completely fried.
I have to decompress… Oh my gosh, my mind is spinning. There’s electricity raging through my body and I have to drive this car and get this kid and I home safely!
It was a bowling event with the Girl Scouts. Erica was in 2nd grade. There were millions of them! Kids EVERYWHERE! The noise, the lights, the music, the worry that I might lose one of them, the incessant questions that started with Rannnndyyy???
As much as I loved being a leader and being involved in scouting with my girls…. That shit can also blow your mind!
Now think about a newborn…
The smells, the sounds, the lights, the people, his parents nerves, the dog, the sister, THE GRANDMA!
The kids mind is blown and he needs to decompress!
You bounce him! (adding more stimulation…)
He cries more!
You walk him into another room! (adding even more stimulation)
He cries continuously!
Dad takes him! (adding more stimulation)
He looses his mind!
You try a bath…. (stimulation OVERLOAD)
He screams his fucking head off!
You cry! (adding more stimulation!)
So what can we do for an over-stimulated baby?
- Relax (well, try to anyway) your baby used to live INSIDE you. He shared your body with you and he responds appropriately to your stress/peace levels.
- If you need a minute… take a minute, make sure the baby is safe, step away and then start again.
- Pick up your baby, take him to the quietest, darkest room in your house. (a walk in closet is not off limits). The goal is to reduce stimuli as quickly as possible. Walking, bouncing, jiggling, position changes and passing off to another person (who looks AND smells differently) INCREASES stimulation.
- Wrap your baby snugly in a blanket, which has been washed in whatever your baby is accustomed to (remember, young baby is stimulated by smell, too).
- Pull your baby in close to your chest, while holding him firmly. Pat his bottom, consistently while making a strong “SHHHHHHH” sound.
- Stay the course. Resist the temptation to soothe his crying by standing, walking, singing, etc.
Sitting on a birth ball (physio ball) while doing this will be more comfortable for you and will allow you to maintain this position long enough for your baby to seek comfort from this.
Crying it out, will ADD to his stimulation AND your frustration. Do your best to prevent your baby from becoming over stimulated.
- Remember ALL 5 of your baby’s senses. As each becomes increasingly more stimulated, your baby will become more overwhelmed.
- Learn to recognize what triggers over stimulation for your baby and intervene by decreasing stimulation before it’s too late.
Good luck, mommies and daddies! Keep trying, treasure the sweet moments and know that it will get easier soon!
Authored by: The Rock n’ Roll Doula