Monday, August 17, 2009
Sshhh! Sshhh! Let the baby self-calm!
Yesterday my mom, son, and I went out to eat at a restaurant and then run errands. I tagged on the errands because my son seemed to be in a good mood even though the clock revealed that it was almost bed time. I took my chances, because sometimes things have to get done. Well, he was fine at all of the locations, except for 10 minutes before approaching the driveway to our home during the car ride. He was probably giving off signals that babies give when tired or over-whelmed, but because he is still in a rear-facing carseat, I wasn't able to see any of his behavior. I have learned how to respond to my 14 month old son's tears....do nothing. Typically, he will self-calm by sucking on his thumb, holding a toy or bottle, and/or humming to himself. But it can be hard to do just nothing and let the child try to organize himself. If I wasn't an occupational therapist who works with infants and toddlers I would have been quite tempted to follow my mom's advice as the crying increasingly got louder. After all, her suggestions were the same ones recommended in books and even some of the strategies I suggested to calm a baby who is over-whelmed on my website http://www.sense-ablebaby.com/. But, it is not always appropriate for the adult to calm the baby, because often if just left alone, the baby will calm himself. Her first idea was to play lullaby music. Well, I do have such a CD in the car, but I know my son and he needed NO noise as opposed to simple rhythmic music. When we pulled in the driveway, another suggestion was to rock him. But once again I know him, and movement wouldn't have helped...no movement and just putting him to sleep in his crib is the best choice for him. So, that is what I did, and he fell asleep witin 3-5 minutes while sucking his thumb, laying on his belly, and tucking his cute little feet underneath his cute little bottom. So, the moral to the story is, although sometimes calming strategies (music, rocking, etc) are beneficial, other times it is best to do nothing!