Calming with stimulation – is it possible to have a calm baby amidst all the busy-ness and sensory overload? Your newborn has emerged from the most calming sensory environment – the womb world. But the smells, bright lights and colours, and noise in our busy world make your little baby susceptible to overstimulation. When overstimulated your new-born will start to grimace, fuss and cry.
If your baby continues to be over stimulated by sensory input, you may find that the crying exacerbates and may result in ‘colic.’ This is characterised by more than three hours of crying at a stretch – usually in the early evening.
Encouraging calm with stimulation
The first social-emotional task of infancy is to be able to tolerate stimulation, to calm when spoken to and in time, enjoy interaction with familiar people. There are simple ways to nurture your new-born to encourage them to be calm:
- Sleep helps to settle the sensory system. Regular sleeps can really help your little one to be calmer and enjoy social interaction more. Newborns need to be put to sleep after only 45 minutes of awake time.
- Hands to midline is very soothing for little ones and helps your baby to stay calmer. When you hold your baby to look into their eyes and talk to them, hold them in a position with their hands towards their chest or neck. This will help your baby to stay calm to focus on your voice and face.
- Swaddling mimics the deep pressure of the womb space and inhibits the primitive reflexes that can cause your baby’s hands to move away from midline.
- In the evening when your baby is more likely to be overstimulated, decrease stimulation interactions and have less eye contact. This will decrease the chance of fussing in the evening.
- When your baby is crying, enter the room and gently say their name so they know you are coming. In time they will learn to settle just by hearing your voice. “Sarah, mommy is here, darling.”
Staying calm with stimulation is a critical first social milestone. You can encourage reaching this milestone with these tips and with Parent Sense. Parent Sense is the all-in-one baby app that takes the guesswork out of optimising your baby’s development.