A guide to caring for your newborn Family crisis and stress

<p>Family crisis and stress</p>
Family Stress

Having a baby is a major life event. The stress of caring for and providing for a newborn is a big job. Unfortunately, family crisis events may come at the same time as your newborn. Babies can sense stress in others. Even worse, stress is contagious. If parents and caregivers are stressed, or if there is stress or crisis in the home, babies feel it, too. Chronic stress (ongoing, daily stress) can impact a baby’s future health. It can make them more likely to have behavior problems and stress-related conditions as they get older. Every home has stress and faces crises at times, but it is important to manage stress and seek help when needed. 

Some babies are born with an easily distressed temperament. This means they are more sensitive or “in tune” with stress and are not as “laid back” as some of their peers. Studies show that many babies like this do better if their parents and caregivers give them lots of physical affection and positive attention. Cuddles and caresses during infancy can make a difference. On the other hand, some babies do not like a lot of touching and handling. It is important to watch for your baby’s cues. Pay attention to what your baby needs and wants. Responding right away can calm your baby. Less stress leads to better brain development and helps your baby learn to deal with stress long-term.

If you have family and friends to help you during stressful times, reach out and welcome the help. Let your provider know about your situation. Often, he/she can provide resources to help.