MEDITATION FOR CAREGIVERS WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR CRYING BABIES

I just read a wonderful article published by the Natural Parents’ Network, called Grounding for Babies; Calming Babies with Caregiver Meditation by Amy Phoenix.
She starts by pointing out that babies feel what their mothers feel, both in and out of the womb. She goes on with what caring for a crying baby can elicit in the baby’s mother or caregiver, and asks the question, What if these trying moments are actually an invitation?” An invitation for us to ground ourselves by using a simple meditation technique; bringing attention to this moment, bringing attention deeply into your body, letting yourself feel like a tree that is deeply rooted in the ground.
“Grounding meditation can help us calm ourselves so we can listen more deeply to the crying and sense whether it is due to needs not being met or a need for emotional release.” I was so inspired, reading these words. I’ve never heard them from anyone but me, and Infant Massage Instructors trained by my organization.
For 38 years, this has been a part of our instructor training; learning to ground yourself and truly listen to your baby. Allowing your baby to cry in your arms to release stress. As Amy says, “Some babies may need to cry for awhile to release stress. Holding a crying baby in loving arms is totally different from leaving a baby alone to cry it out.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. There is a chapter on this in my book, first published in 1978, and released in a new edition in 2017, Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents.
When I began talking about this, it was a foreign concept. Finally, now many other sources have picked up on this idea and are teaching parents how to ground, meditate, and breathe through their crying baby’s episodes. Of course, first we find out if there is something that is causing the crying besides stress — hunger, diaper needing changing, chaotic environment, etc. When it becomes clear that the baby is releasing pent-up emotional stress, grounding meditation, rhythmic bouncing and patting, singing, and even crying WITH your baby, helps he/she to know you are empathic and that your baby doesn’t feel alone.’

GROUNDING MEDITATION FOR NEW PARENTS

If your infant is crying and you feel overwhelmed, put the baby in a safe place, saying, “I am going to calm myself. I’ll be back.” Know that it’s okay for your baby to cry for a few minutes. Go to a place where the crying isn’t so loud for you. You can also do this meditation any time—when your baby is with another caregiver or asleep.
Sit comfortably and relax as much as you can. Breath in gently, breathe out slowly, three times. Now, repeat these phrases:

Breathe in—I am

Breathe out—peace

Breathe in—I am

Breathe out—love

Breathe in—I am

Breathe out—light

Continue this way for at least three rounds.

Google Translate

Source: Google Translate

Many parents believe it is useful to let your baby mourn. The popular wisdom says that a few minutes of crying do not harm but help him calm down and get sleep.

This is the technique of progressive expected , which was developed by Dr. Richard Ferber, neurologist and pediatrician at Harvard University at Children ‘s Hospital Boston (USA) , which is still used today worldwide.

Almost no one really knows what happens when babies keep crying, but the physical and psychological consequences could affect his whole life.

When a baby cries without their parents consoled increases your stress level because, through her tears, wants to express something , either hunger, pain or even need company. The child is totally dependent on them.

If parents ignore their calls, your body will produce stress hormones and, eventually, this may damage your central nervous system , as well as their growth and learning ability.

In an interview for the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung , Karl Heinrich Brisch, chief of psychosomatic medicine at Children ‘s Hospital of the University of Munich, explained that babies who leave mourn “quickly learn to activate an emergency program in its brain, similar to the reflex action of the tanatosis observed in some animals who see their lives threatened, and that is to simulate death. “ This affects brain development, so children do not learn to adapt to stress.

Links and Attachment

On sait maintenant à quel point le lien d’attachement est important. Mais comment l’établir?

Source: Liens et attachement

FROM THE FRENCH:

The benefits of a secure attachment

A baby who develops a stable and secure attachment relationship with his parents in the early years of his life is more likely to be well equipped to handle difficult situations throughout his life. Instead, a baby who could not form this close relationship with significant adults may struggle to adapt to group life. The attachment is even essential to the survival of the human being.

Although the first years of life are very important to establish a link attachment, be aware that built up over a lifetime.

A strong attachment so has several advantages:

  • The child will feel loved and safe. When he grows up, the child will feel that he is worthy of affection and it will have a positive perception of others. It will be easier for him to reach out to others, to explore their environment and new experiences. On the contrary, children with insecure attachment will be reluctant to love and be loved. It will react badly to compliments and rewards. For example, it will deny that it makes the hugs .
  • The baby will know that he can rely on his parents to meet their needs. It will have more confidence in him when explore the world around him and will more confidence to others. By cons, a child with an inadequate attachment bond will tend to pull away from those around him, as if he had given up the idea that we can meet their needs. It might even develop distrust of adults.
  • A child who feels secure is easier to learn and thrive on the engine and intellectually.
  • The child will have a greater ability to adapt to different situations in life, because it will feel supported by his family and will be better able to control their emotions in stressful situations. For example, the separation from the adult when he starts attending the daycare or school will be easier.
  • The attachment will facilitate the learning of social skills and the sharing of emotions. A child with a secure attachment also manifest more empathy and cooperation with others. This will help to form strong relationships with other children, educators, daycare or teachers at school. In the absence of such a link attachment, a child will live more conflicts with children his age because he socialize only to meet its own needs. Indeed, children with insecure attachment will look much the focus . He will have difficulty to share adult attention and to admit his faults. It could even be manipulative and hostile when he does not get what he wants. So it will be more likely to have problems with behavior and delinquency older.
  • As an adult, he will have more chance to live healthy relationships and be satisfied at work. On the contrary, the person without secure attachment will be more likely to experience dissatisfaction in their couple relationships and even domestic violence. Labour relations will risk also to be a source of conflict.

How to foster a secure attachment

The first of a baby attachment link is generally established with his mother, but the bond he shares with his father is just as important. A bond of attachment can also be formed with an aunt, a grandparent or a teacher. The one with his parents, however, remains the most important.

Some behaviors favor the creation of an attachment link:

Before 18 months, a child is unable to make a whim, because his brain is not developed enough. If a baby cries to be taken is that it needs to be reassured. So you do not spoil your child when you respond to their needs. You rather teach him that he can count on you.
  • Meet the needs of your baby with affection, tenderness and consistency. For example, if your baby cries , try to give him what he needs, whether drinking, changing layer or a hug.
  • Respond quickly to your baby’s crying. This will allow him to feel less stress. With time, you learn to recognize the signals of your baby and you will respond more effectively to their needs. Your baby will know and he can count on you to ensure comfort and safety.
  • Interact with your baby tenderly. Rock her, hold it in your arms and talk to him gently.
  • Accept the child as it is, with its strengths and weaknesses. This will allow him to feel that he can be loved and promote the development of good self-esteem .

Remember that your baby needs only a good parent, not a perfect parent. So do not worry about mistakes you might make. As your baby will know that you can count on most of the time he will adapt.

If you feel unable to care for your baby, or because you live a depression or for any other reason, seek help from your spouse or relative. Consult your doctor or contact your CLSC about the services available in your area. Similarly, if you do not understand the needs of your baby despite your ability to care, consult your doctor. He feels perhaps health problems.

The Surprisingly Positive Results of Respectful Parenting – 5 RIE Baby Basics | Janet Lansbury

The Surprisingly Positive Results of Respectful Parenting – 5 RIE Baby Basics | Janet Lansbury.

“We not only respect babies, we demonstrate our respect every time we interact with them. Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a unique human being, not as an object.” – Magda Gerber

How to Talk to Your Newborn | Janet Lansbury

How to Talk to Your Newborn | Janet Lansbury.

Why is talking to babies in a genuine, person-to-person manner such a challenging, and even controversial idea for some? Because it can be incredibly hard to believe that babies really understand, that it might really matter, even if we’re aware of the scientific evidence* that fetuses are learning our language in the womb.

Important. Also, talk and sing to your newborn with massage. INFANT MASSAGE: A HANDBOOK FOR LOVING PARENTS:

 

http://smile.amazon.com/Infant-Massage–Revised-Handbook-Loving-Parents-ebook/dp/B000SEH83K/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416268530&sr=1-1&keywords=infant+massage+a+handbook+for+loving+parents+by+vimala+schneider+mcclure

CRYING BABIES

Once on a television news spot, I was asked to demonstrate infant massage and talk about its benefits. As we hurried to the newsroom, the host said, “I hear you have a way to stop a baby’s screams in one second flat with massage. I hope you can show us that today!”

The baby, a sweet four-month-old with whom I’d had a lovely conversation in the “green room,” took one look at the newscaster and began to cry inconsolably. I did not demonstrate massage because I felt it would betray her feelings to use it as a trick to quiet her (even if it could have, which I doubt). The host concluded that the infant massage gimmick did not work. She was right. As a gimmick, it does not. Unfortunately, this was not the only time I was confronted with this “quick fix” mentality. Many people still think that babies should be seen and not heard.

QUOTE 13_n

Why do babies cry so much? Why does it bother adults so much? Why are people so confused about how to respond to a crying infant? As babies, we had few ways beyond crying to express negative feelings and release pent-up stress. Growing up, we learned how to deal with anger, fear, pain and excess energy in many ways; facial expressions, body language, and speech patterns now help us to convey how we feel. When the stresses of living pile up, we can go for a walk, take a vacation, or talk to a friend. Even when we are healthy, we cry from time to time; but we rarely cry in front of others.

We have learned that crying is antisocial and a sign of weakness. This was probably one of our earliest lessons. The idea of “spoiling” came into vogue in the early part of this century. People began to think that they should let babies “cry it out” alone. The rationale was that babies used crying to manipulate parents into gratifying babies’ desires, and that this was an unattractive character trait. Responding to it could only cultivate spoiled, boorish children leading their parents around by the nose. In order to teach babies that crying was unacceptable behavior and to train them for independence early on, they were left alone to cry until they grew hoarse and fell asleep from sheer exhaustion.

In the 1970s, a movement away from these earlier infant-rearing practices gained momentum. Many more women began breastfeeding, the front and back packs were invented, and even baby experts like Dr. T. Berry Brazelton recanted earlier advice not to take baby into parents’ bed. We finally realized that, like fruit, the only way to spoil a baby is through neglect. Other cultures influenced this change; global communication had become sophisticated enough for us to begin looking more closely at cultures on the other side of the world which had not yet been impaired by so-called modern thinking.

Unfortunately, we had. Mothers who previously might have left baby alone to cry while they felt guilty and tearful in the other room now jumped at baby’s smallest peep. But something remained. Getting the baby to stop crying, or not allowing the baby to cry at all, was still our obsession. There are times when we need to cry. It is a release, and crying in the loving arms of another is often much more so. I believe that babies’ feelings are as deep as ours, that their fears, their sorrows, and their frustrations are not less. From observing hundreds of babies in massage classes and in other cultures, I know that sometimes crying can be a relief for them, and that often after a good cry they are happier, their digestion improves, and they sleep more deeply. This “good cry,” however, is in a loving, supportive atmosphere, where the baby is neither ignored nor hushed. The parent recognizes a cry of hunger or physical pain, or a need for cuddling, and responds appropriately to it.

Many of us brought up in the age of “don’t spoil the baby” have mixed feelings about crying. We get anxious, tense up, want the crying to stop right away. It triggers fear and perhaps a reminder of the anguish (and anger) we may have felt, crying alone in a crib with no response. It can also engender guilt — am I a bad mother if my baby cries?

Our culture reinforces these feelings. Many people are extremely agitated by any noise a baby makes and assail its parent with dour looks at the slightest sound. The embarrassed parent often responds by punishing the baby with loud hisses, apologizing for the baby, and fleeing for the safety of home. Researchers have discovered that we have a built-in response to an infant’s cries. For example, in several experiments, one-day-old infants became distressed upon hearing another infant’s cries, but not upon hearing a synthesized, fake cry or the cry of an older child.

This suggests that the “distress response” is innate.1 How we act upon this distress, however, is determined by cultural factors. Western culture, as it has developed over the last hundreds of years, has systematically reduced our sensitivity to infants’ cues and placed an unnatural distance between parents and babies and between family and community members.2 This split between “nature” and “nurture” has created a vicious cycle of crying babies, sleepless nights, and sometimes, abuse.

Nature

Two types of infant rearing can be found in the animal kingdom: the caching,  who leave their young for long periods while the mother gathers food, and the carrying species, who keep their young in continuous contact and closely space feedings. Behaviors which characterize the caching species are not found in humans. The babies must remain silent for long periods of time while the mother is absent, so as not to attract predators. They do not urinate or defecate unless stimulated by the mother, for the scent would attract predators in her absence. In addition, the young have internal mechanisms that control their body temperature. The mother’s milk is extremely high in protein and fat content due to the length of time between feedings, and the infants suckle at a very fast rate. Humans are in every way the opposite — much closer to the continuous-feeding, carrying mammals. Human milk, in fact, is identical in protein and fat content to that of the anthropoid apes, a carrying species. Human babies suckle slowly, and they cry when distressed or out of contact with the parent.3

Nurture

Konner’s, Brazelton’s, and Mead’s observations and studies of several non-industrialized cultures showed virtually continuous contact between mother and baby. Cultural patterns characterized by close mother-infant contact and prolonged breastfeeding also fostered a highly developed sensitivity to baby signals and subtle cues, such as body movements and facial expressions, that precede crying. This does not mean, however, that babies in these cultures never cry. While they rarely cried during the day, it was quite common for infants to cry for long periods in the evening.4 Adults knew this was release crying and allowed it. As Sandy Jones says in Crying Babies, Sleepless Nights, “There’s a difference between not responding and responding and allowing, in which you’ve used your judgment about what your baby seems to need.” People in these cultures, because of their own experience of responsive parenting and a strong social support system, are quite able to automatically and naturally discriminate between a baby’s distressed crying out for help and other kinds of communication. The baby’s cry rarely pushes the parent into egoistic impulses.

Egoism and Altruism

Researchers have found that people respond to babies’ cries in either an egoistic or an altruistic manner. Egoistic responses are characterized by agitation and concern with self; one wants to stop the baby’s crying because it is aggravating. Altruistic responses are characterized by empathic discomfort; one wants to alleviate the baby’s suffering. Egoism and altruism are fostered by both biology and culture. Maternal hormones, such as prolactin, have been shown to be a factor in an altruistic response to infant crying; these hormones are elevated by extended contact and breastfeeding.5  Our culture, in many ways, encourages and cultivates egoism. We have isolated people more and more over the last several generations. Thus, the social support network for most new parents is nonexistent. The demands of our economy and our social values motivate both parents to provide financial income, often at the cost of increased stress for parents and infants.

Social Support Crucial to the Parent-Infant Bond

Studies reveal that the social support network is very closely related to the security of the parent infant bond. A lack of external support can distance parents from their babies and thus threaten the baby’s healthy development. Babies who are “high need” — colicky, hypersensitive criers — are especially vulnerable to abuse and neglect in situations where parents are suffering marital or financial difficulties. A good social support system can mitigate problems between baby and parent. Unresponsive mothers, who are given a lot of support, help, encouragement and physical affection can become responsive to their babies, and babies who have a lot of contact with loving friends, grandparents, and caregivers are not as affected by difficulties in the mother-infant attachment6  The philosophies of the behaviorists in the early part of the last  century spawned several generations of people who lacked the basic security of a strong parental bond. We, and many of our parents and grandparents, grew up concerned with our own security above all; the anxious attachment created by the anti-spoiling atmosphere of infancy could only bring about self-concern.

Responsiveness Reduces Crying

The result of this culturally promoted egoism is an overall lack of responsiveness to babies, which fosters more crying. Bell and Ainsworth’s studies showed that not responding properly to babies’ cries in the first six months actually increases the frequency of crying and distress in the next six months and later.8  Battering is an egoistic response. According to Steele and Pollack’s work, abusing parents (often the victims of abuse themselves) frequently have extreme views about spoiling and independence training — views handed down and culturally reinforced — which contribute to their baby’s distress, thus further agitating the already stressed parent.9 In addition, these views inhibit close contact, carrying, and breastfeeding, thus lowering the chances of hormonal support fro sympathetic responses.

It does little good to recoil in shock at the statistics on battered children when our entire cultural set-up actually creates this behavior. Battering is an extreme example; almost all of us are caught in this cycle in one way or another. Most new parents in our culture periodically experience high levels of stress, regardless of their philosophies. Who has not had thoughts of “throwing the baby out the window” or fears of losing control and shaking or screaming at a crying baby?

How Can We Heal the Split?

Like all of us, babies have many different reasons for crying. Unfortunately, we have lost much of our capacity to intuit their thoughts and feelings. Most people are able to recognize a sharp cry of pain, but our interpretation of other cries and fusses are filtered through the veil of our own insecurities and projections.10 It may be easier to adopt a mechanistic philosophy, whereby one always responds in the same way — either ignoring or hushing. But babies are not interested in philosophy and are unable to attend to their parent’s (or anyone else’s) comfort. To begin to get a more centered awareness, observe yourself when your baby (or someone else’s) cries. When you understand your reactions, you will be able to begin to understand the baby. Notice what a crying baby stimulates for you. Breathe deeply, relax your body, perhaps think of an affirmation such as “I release fear and tension, and go with love to comfort my baby.” If it is someone else’s baby crying, imagine that it is you and picture yourself, as an adult, soothing yourself as an infant. In my seminars, I use an exercise that helps people (not only parents) identify the feelings and reactions:

The next time you hear a baby cry, jot down the images and feelings that come into your mind. Circle each word or phrase, and connect it with others. Each word will suggest another, then another. Continue doing this until it feels complete. Now, using this “map,” compose a short poem or paragraph. What does your poem tell you about yourself? Sometimes people find that the anguish they hear in a baby’s cry is really their own. When you let go of this fear, you can hear what the baby is really saying.

It is not necessary to overanalyze yourself or your baby. Just take some time to think about how you respond to your baby’s cues. Eventually, you will find the intuitive bond growing between you and your baby, and your confidence in understanding his or her needs increasing day by day. Dr. William Sears, author of The Fussy Baby, advises parents to picture several response buttons on their “internal computer.” “If your baby cries and you push the right response button,” he says, “there is an inner feeling of rightness about your response.” Daily massage can be an aid in this process, because it helps you to literally keep in touch with your baby’s body language and nonverbal signals. Changing our society begins at home. Even so, there are opportunities to influence the culture beyond our own doorstep. We can help grandparents, friends, and prospective parents gain an awareness of babies’ needs. We can make an effort to provide support and encouragement to friends with new babies. We can also model consideration of babies at social functions and in public.

I was standing in line at a department store, and a baby in a stroller began to cry. Several people nearby became uncomfortable, some scowled and whispered. The baby’s mother picked him up and turned with a warm smile to the others standing in line. “He has a lot to say!” she shouted. Instantly, everyone smiled and relaxed. One woman reached over and patted the baby. Forcing babies to “cry it out,” hushing babies’ cries by stopping up their mouths, and letting babies cry “cathartically” can all be excuses for not taking the time to listen to what they have to say. There is no quick fix.  A good parent — a good culture — must go through the sometimes difficult process of responding to babies’ cues individually, with compassion and with common sense.

Notes

1. A. Sagi and M. Hoffman, “Empathic Distress in the Newborn,” Developmental Psychology 12 (1976): 175-176; and M. Simner, “Newborn’s

Response to the Cry of Another Infant,” Developmental Psychology 5 *1971): 135-150.

2. A. Murray, “Infant Crying as an Elicitor of Parental Behavior,” Psychological Bulletin 86 (`979): 200- 201, 211.

3. N. Burton-Jones, “Comparative Aspects of Mother-Child Contract.” In Ethological Studies of child Behavior (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1972).

4. T. Brazelton, “Crying in Infancy,” Pediatrics 29 (1962): 579-588; I. Devore and M. Konner, “Infancy in a Hunter-Gatherer Life: An Ethological Perspective,” in Ethology and Psychiatry (Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1974) ; M. Konner, “Aspects of a Developmental Ethology of Foraging People,” in Ethological Studies of Child Behavior (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1972); and M. Mead and N. Newton, “Cultural Patterning of Perinatal Behavior,” in Childbearing; Its Social and Psychological Aspect (Baltimore, MD: Williams and Williams, 1967).

5. A. Murray, “Infant Crying as an Elicitor of Parental Behavior,” Psychological bulletin 86 (1979): 204-208.

6. S. Crockenberg, “Infant Irritability, Mother Responsiveness, and social Support Influences in the Security of Infant Mother Attachment,” Child Development 52 (1981): 855-865.

7. A. Lieberman, “Preschooler’s Competence with a Peer: Relations with Attachment and Peer Experience,” Child Development 48 (1977): 1277-1287: and L. Matas, R. Arend, and L. Stroufe, “Continuity in Adaptation: quality of Attachment and Later Competence,” Child Development 49 (1978): 547-556.

8. S. Bell and M. Ainsworth, “Infant Crying and Maternal Responsiveness,” Child Development 43 (1972): 1171-1190.

9. B. Steele and C. Pollock, “A Psychiatric Study of Parents Who Abuse Infants and Small Children.” In The Battered Child (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1968).

10. M. Sherman, “Differentiation of Emotional Responses in Infant: The Ability of Observers to Judge the Emotional Characteristics of Crying in Infants,” Journal of comparative Psychology 7 (1927): 335-351.