Life with a baby is wonderful, but sometimes very stressful. Especially if the child is screaming and it is not clear what they want. Scarlet (35), who has become a mother for the second time, passes on her experiences and tips to all parents who want to do justice to themselves and their children even in difficult phases.
1) Take Time For Yourself
The first few months as a family are demanding. Mothers in particular often believe that with small children you no longer have time for yourself or even your partner. Because in the first months of the child’s life, a unique bond with the mother and/or father is created. Children need the attention of their adult caregivers right from the start. This is of course important and it takes a lot of time, care, and physical contact!
But make it clear to yourself: you cannot do everything yourself. If you just long for peace and quiet, can hardly keep your eyes open, the alarm bells should ring. Then only helps: take a break, gain strength, gain distance without a guilty conscience. Because if you don’t have anything, you can’t give anything. The child does not benefit from all the stress that the couple relationship breaks down. It is better as a couple to take a break from their child every now and then and to do something together just for the togetherness.
How is that supposed to work? With tips 2 and 3 or with support options from outside. For example, there is a legal right to domestic help if a doctor issues a care regulation. So if you are sick, overwhelmed and at the limit of your strength, use this opportunity. Many health insurances are initially swamped or require families to look for someone themselves. But that’s wrong. If you are overwhelmed, it is the health insurance company’s duty to provide you with domestic help. Or you can contact a local advice center who can help you find domestic help or a family carer (use the search box on this page).
2) Letting Go Is Worth It
Scarlet explains quite openly how difficult it was for her at first to leave the child to the father for a while. Many family counselors are also familiar with the lack of trust in their fathers from their conversations. Scarlet emphasizes all the more how important it is today that mothers learn to let go. That they entrust “their child” to the father. The free time gained thereby gives strength and is irreplaceable.
3) Include A Third Caregiver
If parents need time for themselves, alone or as a couple, then a third person is needed. Because the baby or toddler cannot stay alone. This can be someone from friends, relatives or the neighborhood with whom the child has developed a strong bond. For example, a “grandmother of choice”. In Scarlets’s opinion, anyone who finds and involves such a caregiver in good time has found a treasure trove of gold.
But if you have no one to entrust the child to, then ask for volunteer family sponsors at the nearest family counseling center. Or consider applying for a mother-and-child regimen. If you have more children who cannot go to the cure, solutions must be found. Contact a counseling center and the counselor will find a solution with you.
4) If the baby is crying a lot, get advice and help
It is normal for parents to reach their limits when looking after a baby. It also happens that babies react negatively because everything is too much for them and they need more rest. Therefore, take good care of yourself and your strength and the signs that the child sends. Get help and support from a doctor or an advice center (via the search box with the Caritas addresses) if you are permanently insecure, stressed, overwhelmed or depressed.
Read Also: What Can Be Done About Baby Teething?
Respond correctly to screams
Babies make grimaces and use body language to communicate their needs, and in an emergency, they start screaming. There’s always a reason for that. Babies never cry to force their parents to do something or because they are “bad”. They often scream in the first few months because of them
- Are hungry or tired,
- Unable to sleep despite being tired,
- Need a fresh diaper or are sore,
- Need attention and physical contact,
- Are bored or overwhelmed,
- Feel physically uncomfortable, such as having a stomachache.
For orientation: up to the sixth week of life, children scream an average of 1.5 hours, after that even 2.5 hours a day. From the 16th week of life, the screaming is reduced to about an hour.
Use calming tricks
Sometimes it’s hard to figure out why a baby keeps crying when everything seems to be taken care of. Four tips for such situations:
- Get help: Maybe the neighbor can hold the baby for ten minutes?
- Go for a walk: Fresh air and calm, steady movement often work wonders.
- Show your baby: I’m here, I see you’re having a hard time. I will help you – even if I cannot help you specifically now. Even if the baby continues to cry, it will feel that it is not alone in its suffering.
- If you suspect physical problems: See the child’s doctor.
Help from the scream clinic
Scarlet has had very good experiences with her visit to a scream clinic. These are now available in many cities connected to children’s clinics, educational counseling centers or resident psychotherapists. There you will get tips on how to deal with phases in which your baby cries and cries a lot, for a long time and even excessively. It is important not to lose your own self-confidence and empathy. And experts can support that.
5) Trust your own intuition
Juliane is a family counselor at Caritas and is well versed in financial help, outside support, and educational issues.
“There is an infinite number of books on the subject of parenting. I have read a great many. Many were good, some were helpful, and my list of things I wanted to do as a mother was endless,” says Scarlet. “That was too much at some point!”
Do not try to get everything perfect, it is not necessary and it is overwhelming for everyone involved. Learn to trust yourself. If you can’t do this because of stress and lack of sleep: Tip 4, get advice and help! Whether at a local advice center (to be found with the search box), anonymously at the Caritas online advice service, from doctors or therapists, outpatient clinics, or friends and family members.