Parents' Frustration and Distress
There are times when a baby's crying can cause parents frustration and anguish. These feelings can dominate some days. If you have fears that you may harm your baby ... calm yourself ... call someone ... seek help ... let others know how you feel ... get some support and:
- NEVER SHAKE YOUR BABY as this will cause him/her great harm and possible death - known as 'Shaken Baby Syndrome'
- Walking out of the room to take a few minutes just to breathe and calm yourself can benefit. Make sure Baby is safely positioned e.g. in her cot on her back
Not always being able to soothe Baby can bring about feelings of helplessness. And if such feelings continue, parents end up being mentally and physically exhausted, which can lead to depression (as discussion in Postnatal Depression). The baby 'feels' this stress and anxiety through the tone of the parent's voice, unhappy facial expressions and other interactions, and a cycle of disruption can form within the parent-baby relationship. The diagram below shows how a baby's crying can bring about such a cycle of behaviour.
From this continuation of stress some parents may begin to resent having their little baby. If you are an unpartnered parent you need to have a trustworthy network of people around you who can help with giving you time out. Those of you in a partnered relationship need to support each other and take turns in the caregiving to lessen the burden (Social support and parenting is discussed in Parenting: From the Beginning).
Breathe deeply ... take time to relax ...!