FINDING HARMONY

From the very start, you and your baby will be working towards a harmony. It’s like a dance where you gradually learn the steps together. You smile and they smile. They cry and you pick them up. You rock them and they gently fall asleep. They become trusting and settled, and you become more confident.

Something you try may work one time and not another, so you move on and try something else. You gradually increase your ‘repertoire’. For example, what can you do for crying babies? Here are some of the possibilities:

– feed them

– hold them

– change them

– stroke their back

– pat them

– talk soothingly to them

– rock them

– take them for a walk

– sing to them

play music

– position them to relax their cramped stomach muscles (draped across your arm, face down)

– put them to bed

– put them in a bouncer

– give them a

– push them in the pram dummy

– make them warmer

– make them

– burp them cooler

– smile and talk to them

– let them sit up and watch the family

– ask for help from family or friends

– ring the support group CRY-SIS (0171 404 5011).

Which of these you try will depend on the situation and what you know of your child. Ask yourself: are they likely to be tired or have they just woken up and had a feed?; does their face look pained or is it a slowing-down, sleepy cry?

The best TV and radio shows for parents (and there have been several recently) feature practical advice, with parents and professionals sharing ideas to help you increase your repertoire of things to try with your babe. Because each child is different, no one thing works all the time. They teach us to be flexible. We learn to persist. A crying baby won’t stop because you close the door or are tired, need a break or the phone is ringing, or you want desperately to go to the toilet. The baby’s nature is to insist. Your job is to persist. Watch for their responses, learn what they like and provide it. Then pat yourself on the back.

It usually takes only a few weeks to really start to understand the baby’s particular patterns. We help them:

– To feel comfortable, with a bath or massage, changes of nappies and clothes.

– To tire themselves out by letting them kick and exercise.

– To feel satisfied by feeding them.

– To feel secure and lulled into sleep, with cuddles, warmth and gentleness.

We try to time all of these so they are completed by the end of the day and the baby starts to learn to sleep longer at night, so we can sleep, too.