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Does Parent Stress Affect Baby?

Tips to Take Control of Your Stress

  • Pinpoint the problem. The source of your negative stress may be clear -- financial struggles or problems at work, for examples -- or it might not be obvious. Try to figure out what causes it so you can look out for, and try to avoid, triggers.
  • Put the focus on you. To take care of your baby, you have to first take care of yourself. Eat well, get as much sleep as possible (nap when baby naps!), drink plenty of water, and exercise.
  • Get help. If you’re truly stressed out, turn to someone you trust for support. You can also contact a trained professional such as a psychologist to help you manage your load in a healthy way.

How to Soothe a Stressed Baby

What does a stressed baby look like? “Some might assume crying is the primary way infants would respond to stress, but this isn't necessarily the case,” says Keim. Other ways babies show stress are:

  • Not meeting eye contact
  • Finger splaying
  • Sneezing
  • Yawning
  • Worried expression

If your infant shows any of these symptoms, here’s how to help her relax:

  • Gently put your hand on her head or feet.
  • Place her hands together.
  • Encourage sucking on a pacifier or thumb/finger.
  • Swaddle her in a blanket.
  • Hold or rock her gently using a shushing sound.
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Reviewed on June 17, 2014

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