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Health & Baby

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Does Parent Stress Affect Baby?

Tips to Take Control of Your Stress

  • Find out the problem. The source of your anxiety may be clear -- money struggles or problems at work, for example. Or it might not be obvious and you may need to dig. 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, really), 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 an anxious baby look like? “Some might assume crying is the primary way infants would respond to stress, but this isn't necessarily the case,” Keim says. Your baby may be stressed if she:

  • Does not make eye contact
  • Spreads her fingers wide
  • Sneezes often
  • Yawns often

To help her relax:

  • Gently put your hand on her head or feet.
  • Place her hands together.
  • Encourage her to suck on a pacifier or your thumb or finger.
  • Swaddle her in a blanket.
  • Hold or rock her gently while you make a “shhh” sound.
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Reviewed on May 27, 2015

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