Stress comes in many forms. For a baby, it’s stressful just being born; changing from one warm, wet and comfortable environment to the dry, cooler wider world.
Our babies feel our anxiety when we’re subjected to hospital birth procedures which disempower us.
They feel the anxiety of the separation from us. Being inside us is different to being outside us, even in our arms. In maternity hospitals in the USA and some other countries, it’s standard practice to have all the babies in one room while the mothers are given rest.
Then, of course, there’s the stress of a wind pain, being squeezed by an overzealous or jealous sibling, and more separation from the mother when they ‘re put in their crib at home to sleep. Whenever we’re anxious or stressed (and what parent doesn’t get this way?) our baby absorbs this state.
When we’re stressed, the energy pathways in our bodies get blocked. This leads to more stress and often physical and mental distress.
This picture looks hopeless, but there is a beautiful solution. It’s EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) or Tapping as it’s often referred to nowadays.
To calm ourselves as parents we can tap on certain spots on our face, hand and torso. These are meridian end points; the acupuncture points in Chinese medicine. We don’t have to use needle,s though. Tapping on the points while emotionally tuned into the problem we’re facing or the stress we’re feeling enables the blocked energy to flow freely, thus calming the stress.
Check out this page to learn more about EFT.
Calming ourselves will help to calm our children, but there is something else we can do for our baby. Some babies like to be touched on the meridian points, especially if you ask them first before touching them. I suggest touching gently rather than tapping on them. But some babies don’t like this, especially when they’re upset.
So this is where the finger squeeze comes in. Ask your baby if it’s OK to press their fingers gently. If they show signs of assent, then take each finger and gently squeeze either side of each finger nail.
Another gentle and effective tool is to press the inside of your baby’s wrist gently. This is easier to do than fingers when we’re in a car, reaching back to a screaming baby in his car seat.
There, simple eh? Now it doesn’t work instantly in every case. Depending on what the problem is it may take persistence, but even if it doesn’t seem to solve the problem, it has no adverse side effects. It will always calm to a certain extent.
If he continues to cry, it could be that he just needs to process some trauma he sustained in or out of the womb. Crying is a natural way of releasing emotion. Just stay with him, letting him know he is not alone and that you love him. Now, I know this is very stressful for the parent to feel helpless in the face of our child’s distress, so that’s when tapping on ourselves can be very helpful for both parent and child. When we are calm, it’s easier for our baby to calm.