NO MORE TEARS: THE CRY­ING FIX EX­PERTS SWEAR BY

Learn these sim­ple ‘mind­ful­ness’ tech­niques to help both you and your lit­tle one through the tears

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Contents -

Mind­ful­ness tech­niques to help bub through the tears

An in­creas­ing num­ber of mums are turn­ing to mind­ful­ness, a form of med­i­ta­tion that fo­cuses on open­ness and aware­ness, to help them and their ba­bies work through the stress of tears.

Mind­ful­ness ex­pert and co-au­thor of Ev­ery­day Bless­ings: Mind­ful­ness For

Par­ents (Ha­chette, $35) Myla Ka­bat-Zinn says mind­ful par­ent­ing isn’t about be­ing the per­fect mum. “It’s about be­ing more aware, present in the mo­ment and open-hearted,” she says. “That makes a huge dif­fer­ence to our chil­dren and how we re­spond to them.

“When ba­bies cry, we get stressed,” she says. “It’s a nat­u­ral re­sponse to make us re­spond – that’s how ba­bies sur­vive.” But that stress can be dif­fi­cult to deal with, and many mums can shut down their emo­tions in the face of it. “By be­ing more mind­ful, though, you can re­spond with kind­ness and clar­ity in dif­fi­cult mo­ments,” says Myla. The next time your baby cries, try these tech­niques and see for your­self.

TAKE INTO AC­COUNT THE CON­DI­TIONS AROUND YOU

“We’re not al­ways go­ing to be able to stop our ba­bies from cry­ing,” says Myla. “But we can at­tune to them and think about the con­di­tions that may have led to the tears.” She says by con­sid­er­ing how your baby sees the world and un­der­stand­ing why she might be cry­ing, you’ll be bet­ter able to help. “There are so many things we can bring aware­ness to. Ask your­self: how do the clothes your baby is wear­ing feel to her? Is it time to take your baby to a quiet place be­cause she’s been over­stim­u­lated in a busy en­vi­ron­ment?” Myla says. “Also, some bubs love to be swad­dled and held closely, but some can’t stand it.”

BE AWARE OF THE REA­SONS WHY YOU’RE FEEL­ING STRESSED

Lis­ten­ing to your lit­tle one cry­ing is up­set­ting, es­pe­cially when you’re un­able to set­tle her. But Myla says this could be less to do with your baby and more to do with you. “Some­times your re­ac­tion to your baby cry­ing has more to do with your own ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing a child and not nec­es­sar­ily what is hap­pen­ing in the mo­ment,” she ex­plains. “If you didn’t feel nur­tured your­self, you may get ex­tremely dis­tressed hear­ing your baby cry.”

LOWER YOUR EX­PEC­TA­TIONS

Does it some­times feel as if it’s only your baby who cries all the time? Or, if this is your sec­ond child, are you at a loss as to why she cries more than your first did? “Look at your ex­pec­ta­tions – you might re­alise you’re ex­pect­ing your baby to be­have in a cer­tain way, mak­ing you ex­pe­ri­ence frus­tra­tion or anger,” says Myla. “Open your­self to the pos­si­bil­ity that ev­ery baby is dif­fer­ent and ask your­self how you can work with yours.”

RE­ALISE THAT BA­BIES CRY

Myla says the first nine months of bub’s life is al­most like a fourth trimester. “It’s a big tran­si­tion go­ing from in­side to out­side, so it’s nor­mal for ba­bies to cry,” she says. “Don’t beat your­self up about it.”

Even if you un­der­stand why your baby is cry­ing, there’s not al­ways a lot you can do about it. “Many ba­bies hate hav­ing their nappy changed,” says Myla. “Are you go­ing to be tense and anx­ious about her cry­ing when you change her nappy? Or can you accept the cry­ing, calm your­self, re­lax into your body and have a lit­tle em­pa­thy with your baby and your­self?”

TRY A LIT­TLE TEN­DER­NESS

Ba­bies al­ways cry for a rea­son, but you won’t al­ways un­der­stand what that rea­son is. And you may feel as if you’ve failed your baby if you can’t soothe her and stop her cry­ing.

“This couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth,” says Myla. “If you can’t fig­ure out why she’s cry­ing and noth­ing you’re do­ing is work­ing, just try bring­ing a lit­tle kind­ness to the mo­ment. Pick her up, hold her and try to imag­ine what it feels like to be a baby. If you couldn’t talk yet, and perhaps didn’t even know the rea­son why you were up­set, what might you want? You’d prob­a­bly sim­ply want to be held with some gen­tle­ness.”

KEEP EX­PER­I­MENT­ING

Try dif­fer­ent ways to soothe your baby and find out what’s help­ful to her. She might be com­forted if you try to re-cre­ate a whoosh­ing sound, like she heard in your womb, or by move­ment. Some ba­bies are soothed by a trip in the car or by the sound of the vac­uum cleaner, while others love to hear you sing to them. “Just re­mem­ber that what works to­day might not work to­mor­row, or even the next mo­ment,” says Myla. “In­stead, try and be open to what helps in the present mo­ment.”

ACCEPT THE FACT YOU CAN’T SOLVE EV­ERY­THING

So, what hap­pens if your baby is cry­ing per­sis­tently and noth­ing you’re do­ing calms her? “Accept the sit­u­a­tion as it is,” says Myla. “Say to your­self, ‘This is what is hap­pen­ing, she is cry­ing, this is dif­fi­cult. I may not be able to stop her cry­ing, but what I can change is how I am in re­la­tion to it all.’”

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