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New parent stress: Staying calm when the crying won't stop

You spent so much time waiting for your baby's arrival. And now that they're finally at home, all you can think about is—when will the crying stop?

Here's some good news: Your feelings are perfectly normal. A crying baby is supposed to stress us out. It's how our brains are wired to respond. When we hear a baby cry, we naturally go to them to figure out what they need or want. 

If your baby is crying and you're feeling stressed, take a few moments to try and calm yourself. If you stay upset, your baby will sense it. And that's likely to only increase the crying.

Here are a few steps to take when you feel like your nerves are stretched too thin:

1. Set your baby down in a safe place (like a crib) and take a break. Give yourself a few minutes to collect yourself and to ratchet down your stress levels.

2. Try some breathing exercises. When you're stressed, you tend to take short, shallow breaths. Instead, breathe in slowly through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Make sure your breaths are even and deep. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out…

3. Get some sleep. The next time your baby falls asleep, so should you. Take advantage of quiet times to get some healing shut-eye.

4. Tap into your senses for some relaxation. What calms you the most: Sound? Sight? Smell? Find a song that seems to instantly relax you. Or close your eyes and visualize a calming place—such as a garden, the beach or a park. If fragrances help reduce stress, buy some scented oils and use them to send your mind on a relaxing journey.

5. Change your location. Is it good weather for a baby stroll outdoors? A walk around the block might be just the thing to calm both you and your baby. 

6. Remember that your baby loves you—and you love your baby. Try to get some rest, call friends or family for support, and talk with your pediatrician if you think your baby is too fussy or if you feel overwhelmed. 

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Reviewed 1/19/2024

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