Never Shake Your Baby

Trying to soothe a crying baby can be frustrating at times. This is especially true if the baby has been fussy over a long period of time, such as when the baby has colic. It can seem like you’ve tried everything to soothe your baby, only to have them scream all the louder. It’s enough to make a parent want to scream.

If you find yourself becoming overly frustrated or angry with your baby, that may be exactly what you need to do. If you are unable to stay calm while your baby is crying, go ahead and lay her down. It will not hurt her to lie in the crib and cry for a while. Babies have cried, sometimes violently, in their cribs for centuries and still managed to grow up to become healthy adults.

It’s much better to lay your baby down and walk away than to try to take care of her while you are becoming angry or overly frustrated yourself. Step outside for a few minutes. Drink a glass of water or milk slowly, go for a walk around your house, do whatever it takes to calm yourself down. But, whatever you do, do not shake your baby.

Shaking a baby can lead to severe head trauma in a matter of seconds. Worse, the effects might not even be readily apparent. In extreme cases, babies can even die from being shaken, though it is more likely that your baby will suffer brain damage.

Babies brains are not quite snug within their heads when they are little, and shaking them causes the brain to bounce around inside the skull, potentially causing bruising or even bleeding. Shaking babies and children is dangerous until the child is more than five years old (and still not a good idea after that).

Remember, your baby is not crying to act out or to be bad. Babies cry because they lack the ability to otherwise express what they want or need. Admittedly, meeting a baby’s needs can be a frustrating guessing game. But if the frustration is getting to you badly enough that you think you might hurt your baby, place her someplace safe (like her crib) and walk away from the situation until you have calmed down.

If you need to, call someone to come over and help. If you find that you are frequently becoming angry, frustrated or depressed when baby is fussy, consult your doctor or medical practitioner about the possibility of postpartum depression or other conditions which may be adding to your anxiety.