Children, especially infants are no different then you and I. They are comfort creatures, which means that they need the familiar in order to feel comfortable. Here are some ideas to help your baby adjust to new environments.
by Jennifer Shakeel
Recently my family went on a much needed vacation. We were lucky and were able to get away for ten wonderful days. For some this would’ve been long enough, for me… I could still be sitting on the beach. Anyway, the vacation inspired this article. We just had a baby in December, and this was her very first vacation… filled with tons of strange people and strange places. Our biggest concern was how she would handle this. Overall she did wonderful, bless her little soul, and I am going to share with you ways to help your baby adjust to new environments, whether on vacation or not.
The tips I am going to share are great for babies of any age. As a matter of fact the older they get the more important these tips will become until they are about five or six years old. Children, especially infants are no different then you and I. They are comfort creatures, which means that they need the familiar in order to feel comfortable.
So let us say that baby is going to be babysat by a relative and they are going to have to be there for an extended period of time and they have not been there before. I strongly advise that you go into their nursery and pick up two or three things that they cherish. This could be the blanket that they sleep with each night, their favorite toy or book. Something that soothes them, make sure that it goes in the diaper bag for the visit.
On our trip I made sure that I had a few of our baby’s blankets. It smelled like home, she was used to being wrapped up in one of them when she was tired. So it comforted her, and when she went to sleep in a new bed in a new place, she always had her blanket. If you have to go away from baby, I recommend that you send a blanket that smells like you. Your baby knew you first by your scent, before she knew your voice or what you looked like… she knew how you smelled. It is comforting to them.
When baby is going to a new place, make sure that you are going with them. If baby spends more time with dad then mom then make sure dad is there when baby goes to the new place. Try not to introduce new people and a new place without you being there. You’re going to laugh, but we took our new baby to Universal Studios and Disney World. Can you imagine how insane we were? I was a little nervous on how our baby would take all the people, the noises and strange happenings. Most babies will cry… scream really because it is simple to much stimulus for their little systems to handle. Our daughter was a little fussy at first… well she did a little screaming. But I would pick her up, hold her for a little bit and usually within about 10 minutes she would be asleep… and she would stay asleep for hours.
You may be thinking that is typical, a baby sleeping, not out daughter. Sleep has not been something she has done a lot of in the last four months.
It is also very important that you listen to baby. Pay attention to the way they are handling the new environment. For example we learned that our daughter was fine in a large crowd, even loud noises didn’t bother her. However, when we would take her into a large room with lots of people and it was dark… she would cry, uncontrollably and the only way to get her to stop was for me to leave with her while my husband stayed with our older two children. Learn your baby’s cues, he or she will give them to you… remember that they cannot talk they can only scream and cry and you have to pick up on what it is they are trying to tell you.
Remember that baby also has a routine or schedule at home. Try to keep them on that routine. Babies can adjust to new places as long as there is something familiar about them. So even if they are at grandma’s for the first time… if nap time comes around then put them down for a nap at grandmas.
Believe it or not babies are more resilient then we give them credit for. They will try new environments and be comfortable as long as there are familiar things there for them. Take their favorite blanket, their favorite toy, keep them on their routine. If you listen to baby, he or she will be more inclined to try new things more often.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!
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