My landlady and her husband, who live upstairs, have a new baby. Sometimes, their baby cries, as most wee infants do. And sometimes, as parents, when our baby cries, we just feel so upset. We feel upset because we love our babies and we want to ease their discomfort and sometimes we just don’t know how.
I woke up to hear my landlady’s baby crying and I thought: “Poor mom. I bet she feels as upset as I and every other parent on the planet feel sometimes.” (I also thought, “Poor baby. I bet he’s not feeling too good.” But, I thought that after.)
So, in the spirit of helpfulness I thought I would just jot down these simple things I learned as a new mom many years ago. Maybe my landlady will stumble upon them.
1. Some religion, I forget which one at the moment, believes that our third eye is located between our eyebrows at the top of the bridge of the nose. Sit in a chair, knees together and lie baby on his back, head at your knees, wee bottom close to your belly. Look at him or her, coo softly, smile and gently massage this third eye area with your fingertip. It may take a few minutes, but more likely than not, baby will be soothed, calm and happy, cooing back at you, within a few minutes. That, or asleep.
2. Sometimes, babies’ wee tummies get in a gnarl. A new food, a new digestive system, reaching a new developmental stage, all these things can cause baby to just not feel right. Lie baby in same position as mentioned above. Gentle rub his or her tummy ~gently~with the length of your fingers and the palm of your hand, just below the belly button from right to left, from baby’s right to baby’s left. (This is generally the direction our food travels as it makes its’ way through our bodies and becomes waste). You can even try it on your spouse. Trust me. Comforting. He or she will appreciate the smiling and cooing as well.
3. Apparently, there are 7200 nerve endings in the feet. Who knew? Well, apparently someone did, cause there’s an app for that While baby is lying supine, gently rub his or her feet. Use your thumbs to apply pressure (baby-sized pressure) intermittently to the soles of each tiny foot. Watch out. This may encourage baby to poop. I used to know why…something to do with one of those nerve endings being directly connected to the descending colon…but it’s been a while. Google it.
4. Babies know their moms by their smell. Pretty powerful, eh? It’s a good thing that fades with time, otherwise there would be a lot of grown men at the mall, smelling the air, searching for us. What I’m trying to say is that this connection moms have with their babies is deep and strong. The power of eye contact with baby, smiling, speaking softly, tummy-rubbing…all these things we do as moms to comfort and calm our babies is like oxygen to them.
5. Don’t forget the football hold. Very useful. Hold your arm, bent at the elbow, across the front of your body. Lie baby, prone (face down), with his or her tiny head in the crook of your elbow. Allow their legs and feet to dangle on either side of your forearm, but keep your arm close to your body so baby feels secure and actually IS. Your arm is actually applying light pressure on baby’s tummy so if there are any wanton gas bubbles trapped in there, they will be exiting quickly.
That’s all I can think of at the moment. I’ll add more if the opportunity presents. In the meanwhile, remember how lucky you are to have this incredible little LIFE in your arms…and love it. Love it well.
PS Don’t forget the healing power of yogurt…as long as it contains active bacterial culture, a wee bit on the end of a Q-tip and wiped inside baby’s mouth will cure thrush quicker than any antibiotic.