7 Things Parents Need to Know About Pain and Feelings in Newborns (Pt. 2)
#4: You Can Help Your Newborn Cope with Pain
Many newborns are subjected to heel pricks for blood testing, circumcision, and other procedures. The good news is you can help your baby cope if pain becomes an unfortunate necessity.
All medications have risks, so for minor medical things, like blood tests, the benefit of local or oral pain medication isn’t likely to outweigh the risks. Swaddling, breastfeeding, talking to your baby, cuddling, and other ‘feel good’ gestures give your baby added security, and can help her cope with pain.
This also helps your child to build trust in you. While pain and discomfort might be an unfortunate part of life, your baby can learn that mama or daddy is always there, to bring security and comfort during the pain.
If medical procedures are necessary, take time to discuss pain relief options with your child’s doctor. There are many options. Once, there weren’t many guidelines available, but in the light of recent research, the American Academy of Pediatrics has published a new statement regarding newborn pain relief.
#5: Your Baby Can Feel Lonely
After nine months in a safe and warm environment, where they were never alone, coming earth side can be quite a transition for babies. For the first time in their existence, they experience physical separation from their caregivers. After constantly hearing a heartbeat and being ‘held’, being put down for long periods of time can be quite scary and lonely.
Some infants will go down easily and seem content to be alone. However, in some situations they might have learned that no one will come if they fuss. Other babies make quite a bit of noise, alerting their caregivers they don’t feel secure on their own.
If your baby is content with some down time, go for it, in moderation. But be sure to answer her cries, even when you know she’s been fed and changed. Newborns need touch and interaction as much as they need oxygen.
#6: Your Baby Can Get Bored
While babies might not seem incredibly interactive, they actually thrive on interaction and stimulation. They can be overstimulated, of course, but they can also become bored. If your baby is fed, changed, and well rested, but still fussy, consider a change of scene.
A toy, a colourful book, or a simple walk outside can help alleviate your baby’s boredom. You don’t need to make elaborate plans. Simply singing about what you’re doing, pointing out objects during errands, and chatting with baby during your walk can help keep her well stimulated.
#7: You Can Help Your Baby’s Emotional Health and Security
Everyone (including babies) has a unique temperament, but our early environment can have a huge impact on our emotional health and security.
When your baby learns that you will answer her attempts at communication, and her cries, when she’s comforted during pain and discomfort, and when she has touch and stimulation, she’s likely to develop better emotional health and security.