What to do when you feel overwhelmed?


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Begoña Martinez de Tejada Weber
Begoña Martinez de Tejada Weber
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Your baby is demanding a lot of care and attention. Your baby needs you for eating, for its well-being and to feel protected and safe. For your part, you may still feel tired from the strain of your pregnancy and giving birth. In addition, the first few months are often difficult because the nights are interrupted by awakening and crying. All mothers experience moments of great fatigue and discouragement.

Do not stay alone

The birth of a child is sometimes all the more upsetting as it may bring back a painful past or reinforce current difficulties. One can easily turn to excesses, even involuntarily.

If you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed by the situation, do not stay alone. But remember: your child has specific needs (affection, food and basic care). In all circumstances, your child is entitled to your care and attention.


Crying is a baby’s way of expressing and communicating its needs. It’s the baby’s way of attracting attention. A healthy baby can cry for up to 2 to 3 hours a day, often late in the day or in the evening. Little by little, you learn to differentiate between crying for hunger and crying because of discomfort or pain.

During the first few months, a baby does not whine. Sometimes nothing can calm the baby, but this isn’t serious. You can lay the baby on its back in its bed, leave it in the shade and come to see it every 10 to 15 minutes until the baby calms down.

Why is your baby crying ?

  • Your baby is hungry.
  • Your baby is tired.
  • Your baby is hot or cold.
  • Your baby is troubled by its dirty diaper.
  • Your baby is disturbed by noise or light.
  • Your baby is poorly positioned or uncomfortable.
  • Your baby needs to get rid of excess tension built up during the day before it can fall asleep.
  • Your baby needs to feel safe, to be reassured and to be in contact with those around it.
  • Your baby may also cry for no particular reason.

How can I calm my baby down ?

  • Check if the baby is hungry, cold or needs its diaper changed.
  • Take your baby in your arms for reassurance, rock it gently or go for a walk.
  • Talk to your baby softly while humming. Give your baby a bath to relax it.
  • Massage your baby, especially its tummy if it has wind. Give your baby a pacifier if it has one, because suckling may calm it.

Does your baby’s crying seem excessive or somehow different from its usual crying? Take your child to see the pediatrician or to hospital.

You can’t stand your child’s crying anymore?

  • Never shake a baby as the violent movement of the baby’s head back and forth can lead to serious brain damage or even be fatal.
  • Do not scream.
  • Put your baby comfortably in bed and leave the room.
  • Call a trusted person (a member of the family or a neighbor).

Never shake your baby !

Sometimes your baby cries without you knowing why. You have fed the baby, changed its diaper, cuddled it, cradled it but nothing seems to work. You should know that some babies cry a lot and regularly.

Even the most Zen parents can reach their limits and lose patience. It is often in a context of exhaustion and exasperation that anger increases and parents involuntarily shake their child to calm the baby down. But caution, this is very dangerous. As a result of shaking, the head swings round which may cause significant brain damage or may even be fatal. Never shake your child, not even in play, nor throw the baby up into the air or “let it fly” because the dangers are just the same.

Giving yourself a rest will protect your baby

Your child feels your anxiety, irritation and tension. If you feel exhausted, have the right reflex: lay your baby safely on its back in its bed and leave the room a few minutes after gently closing the door. Alternatively, ask your partner to take over. In his absence, and if you have the possibility, give the baby to someone you trust (a family member or friend) to look after, so you can have a rest. If the situation reoccurs, do not be ashamed to ask for professional advice.

Last update : 11/04/2019