Keep Calm if the Crying Carries On

September 14, 2022 Infant

The crying…the sleepless nights…the constant diaper changes…caring for a baby is a lot of work! Sadly, frustration and fatigue can push some caregivers to their limit, leading them to physically hurt their babies.

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is the leading cause of child abuse death in the United States, with one out of four shaken babies dying as a result. Babies under the age of 1 year (especially those 2 to 4 months of age) are at greatest risk for SBS because they tend to cry often and longer than older, larger children. However, Shaken Baby Syndrome injuries have been reported in children up to age 5.

Shaking a baby in a moment of frustration can cause a lifetime of problems. Babies have heavy heads and weak neck muscles, so even a few seconds of forceful shaking can cause serious damage. When a child is shaken, the head jerks back-and-forth causing the brain to slam against the inside of the skull. This shaking can lead to many different injuries, including brain damage and even death.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF A BABY IS SHAKEN?

Right Away:
Breathing may stop or become irregular Heart may stop Extreme irritability Limp arms and legs
Decreased level or complete loss of consciousness Vomiting Seizures Pain and uncontrollable crying
Decreased appetite, or vomiting for no reason Poor sucking or swallowing Change in sleep pattern or can’t be awakened Head or forehead appears larger than usual or soft-spot on head appears to be bulging
Not able to lift head Not able to focus eyes or track movement Unequal size of pupils Death
In the Future:
Learning disabilities Developmental delays
Physical disabilities Blindness
Loss of hearing Speech disabilities
Cerebral Palsy Seizures
Behavior disorders Death
If you think a baby has been shaken, take the child to the hospital immediately. This could be the difference between life and death.

STOP. CALM DOWN. GET HELP.

You knew your baby would cry…but you never imagined how frustrating that crying would become when you can’t get it to stop. After trying everything — with no success — to calm and comfort your baby, you may feel like you’re about to lose your cool. DON’T. Shaking, throwing, hitting, or hurting a baby in any way is NEVER okay. If the crying overwhelms you, stop, calm down, and get help.

Keeping Your Cool

Remember, if you’ve done all you can do and you’re still not able to calm your baby, it’s not your fault, nor your baby’s. You are not a bad parent or caregiver. Take a deep breath…things will get easier!
Side-Lying

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

cross-cradle

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Football

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

CRADLE hold

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

laid-back

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: