Stressed out parents can cause stressed out babies and nobody wants a stressed-out baby.
True to form babies are like sponges. They soak up information from the world around them and learn things at a fast pace. They’re also watching you and baby’s feelings are more likely to mirror their parents. Babies tune into parents emotions, ever heard the term they played you like a fiddle? They know just what to do to wrap you around their little finger from the womb!
Stress is contagious, and chronic or toxic stress has long-term health consequences. When babies are exposed to high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, they are more likely to develop behavior problems and stress-related diseases later in life. Stress can be categorised in to three types:
- Positive stress: the low-level anxiety you might have when you meet new people or await a needle stick at the doctor
- Tolerable stress: more intense but still manageable, from events like losing a job or a family member
- Toxic stress: intense anxiety from something that goes on for a long time, like abuse or neglect
Not all stress is deemed harmful with positive being something babies can learn from and toxic being the worst kind. There is good news for parents! Studies show infants exposed to lots of nurturing touch similar to that which can be found in our kalma massage and yoga classes are more likely to develop into stress-resilient adults – even if they were born with risk factors for stress-related problems. There is a protective power which comes with physical affection and even the Highest risk babies can benefit hugely in development with the many cuddles and caressing parents give during early infancy.
A parent that shows sensitivity and responsiveness to their babies needs eg has the ability to “read” their baby’s cues and give them what they needs in a timely way will result in that baby having a lower level of cortisol in their bodies.
Our top tips for keeping stress at bay:
- Walk it off soothing rocking and walking which we do a lot of in classes! Not only can it help a parent clear thoughts but walking has a calming affect on babies.
- Lots of affection physically (but not too overwhelming can go the opposite) we use a firm but gentle touch with massage techniques that’s not too intrusive. A parents nurturing touch can help create a bond.
- The Sleep support you give your baby can make a huge difference. History tells us our ancestors slept close to their babies, and an infant’s survival depended on staying near. It shouldn’t surprise you that babies find it stressful to be left alone in the dark. Evidence shows that babies experience elevated cortisol levels in this situation – even if they have been “trained” to sleep in their own rooms, and remain relatively quiet. Sleep support can affect how babies handle stress at other times and can also put parents through a huge amount of stress too!
- Be conscious of your own mood, baby see baby do! Breathing is the best form of stress relief and if your having a rubbish day blow it away.
- Recognise baby’s cues and try to watch for signs of overstimulation. You can always adjust baby’s environment or activity as needed!
Here at Kalma Baby we care about health and well being and the influence we can have on our children from an early age! Spread the word on #NationalStressAwarenessDay Visit www.kamababy.co.uk