As a Mum-of-three I know how stressful and heartbreaking it can be for a new parent when it’s impossible to settle baby! Today I have invited Sammy Goulter, an experienced chiropractor, who is going to teach us some few settling and soothing techniques from a nervous system perspective.
PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW A BABY FUNCTION FROM A NERVOUS SYSTEM PERSPECTIVE
With our nervous system we have two main components; Firstly, we have the part that we can control, such as our movement, speech etc, and then secondly, we have the part that we can’t control, such as our heart rate, digestion, hormone function and so forth. Now in this system that we can’t control, we have two modes of function:
We have our SYMPATHETIC mode, also known as our Fight-Flight mode or Stress response.
Then we have our PARASYMPATHETIC mode, which is commonly referred to as our Rest & Digest mode.
These two systems operate in opposition, so we tend to be switched on in one or the other as we can’t be both stressed and relaxed at the same time. Hence in terms of how to settle babies we want to encourage them to be in the Rest & Digest mode, that calm and relaxed state, as often as we can. It’s therefore important for parents to know what switches on those two parts of the nervous system so that they can incorporate techniques that activate the rest and digest mode. Interestingly, the nerves related to our stress mode come from our middle and lower back, whereas the nerves related to our relaxed mode come from both our neck and our sacrum (the flat bone at the base of our spine).
SOOTHING TECHNIQUES THAT CAN SETTLE BABY
With the information about the nervous system in mind, lets have a look at different techniques that can help settle baby:
BACK-PATS VERSUS BUM-PATS
Many parents tend to pat their babies on their back when trying to settle them. I have actually found that giving them firm, rhythmic bum-pats helps to settle them much faster. The theory behind this is that we are activating the nerves that switch on the Rest & Digest mode rather than the nerves that switch on the stress response (which we could be activating when giving baby back pats).
Conclusion: BUM-PATS MIGHT SETTLE BABY FASTER!
Parents might often experience that their babies start crying as soon as they stop moving, simply because babies really like movement. I therefore highly recommend doing vertical movements when settling baby. Try sitting on a fit ball while holding the little one over your shoulder, start patting on the bum while doing gentle bounces up and down – this will result in nice vertical movements that babies tend to enjoy.
When it comes to settling the little ones, an important factor that is often prioritised last, is to make sure that the new Mum is calm and relaxed, as babies tend to mirror their mother’s physiology. Obviously as a new parent you are often sleep-deprived and it can be very difficult to take proper care of yourself. This is why it’s important to allow family and friends to help, as they can do the small tasks around the house creating more time and space for you to keep yourself nurtured and calm as well.
I hope you find this information useful and I really do hope these techniques will help settle your little bub.
Take care, xx Charlie
P.S. If you know a New Mum, please, please do reach out and let her know that you are there for her and that you are willing to help her with whatever tasks that are needed #supportnewmumsaus
P.P.S. Sammy Goulter is the founder of Awaken Health Chiropractic in Adelaide. If you have any further questions to this topic, please get in touch with her.