You’re in the final trimester of your pregnancy. Up until now you hadn’t felt so bad. Now, though, you feel enormous and there seems no end to it. Baby has started kicking on a regular basis and is so active at bedtime that you rarely get a good night’s sleep. You start to worry how you will cope once the baby is born if you feel so tired now. Your digestion is dreadful, you seem to have permanent heartburn – and when you try to bend down!
You’d been waiting for this moment for so long. Here she is, in your home, a real human being created by you both, a little miracle. And what happens? She cries and cries and cries. It scares you. You’re on your own for so long in the day and her crying seems to go on and on. You are so very tired, you can hardly think straight anymore. When your partner comes home in the evening it isn’t so noticeable. Maybe she’s worn herself out with the crying. During the night your partner sleeps right through. (you have no idea how he can do that!).
The crying pierces you right through. How can you help her? What are you doing wrong? How much longer will this go on for? How will you cope? Sound familiar? Well you’re not alone. Nowadays families are more scattered, so there isn’t always going to be an extended family nearby ready to help. Dealing with lack of sleep and anxiety over your newborn can take its toll. Of course there are babies who settle right down, sleep through the night within a few weeks, take to breastfeeding readily and digest the milk well.
What if your baby suffers from colic? What if the birth itself was a very long and stressful experience and you and your baby haven’t recovered yet? The problem is that if you’re stressed, your baby is stressed and that exacerbates the colic. If you’re anxious, your baby will pick this up. It can become a vicious circle.
If the birth was traumatic and your baby has not seemed to settle since birth, you would be well advised to consider taking him or her to a cranial osteopath, who can help with general alignment on a physical level, in a gentle way.
Stress – what it does to you
We all know that when you feel stressed things can start to go wrong. You start dropping things, banging into things, getting exasperated easily – you can almost feel the atmosphere around you changing. The same is true for your baby.
Relaxation – how it helps
Relaxation is so important for our general digestive system, nervous system, sleep and overall enjoyment. The key is becoming relaxed within yourself, as your baby will definitely pick up on your vibes. Deep breathing, meditation and yoga are all things that can be done in the home and will definitely help with relaxation.
What if you find it hard to switch off and meditate? What if yoga is too difficult or the classes are nowhere near where you live? There are pieces of music written especially to aid with calming the nervous system. By having such a CD on in the background you are creating a more soothing atmosphere for yourself and your child. You’ll notice that your baby is quite happy lying there, whereas before she might have been screaming her head off.
Once you are feeling more relaxed yourself, your baby will be aware of it. This can be of great benefit while you are breastfeeding. Some babies take longer to relax into breastfeeding. Playing such a piece of music can help you both to relax so that the feeding experience becomes calm and pleasant. Drink lots of water as well. When we’re stressed our bodies become dehydrated, so we need extra water.
Playing the same piece of music again and again can have a stronger effect as both you and your baby expect to feel more relaxed almost as soon as the CD has started. The music acts like a trigger, telling your body to let go of tension and settle down to enjoy relaxing.