"Do you think my baby is retarded?" the mother of four-week-old Jeffrey asked.
I was surprised by her question. Jeffrey was born full term with no complications at birth. He was bright and alert, nursed immediately, and had regained his birth weight in only ten days.
Why do you ask?" I inquired.
"Because he just lies there!" Mom replied. She went on to explain that the other day she was playing in the living room with Jeffrey's four-year-old sister. Jeffrey awoke from his nap and began to cry. Mom called out to him as she put the Hi Ho Cheerios back in the box. "When I got to him, he was just lying there staring out the window."
Since babies can be our greatest teachers, I wanted to watch Jeffrey closely to find clues to understanding the behavior that worried his mom. Mom undressed her baby, and I began his check up. His eyes were fine, his heart was strong, and all other body parts were in working order! After I checked his hips he started to cry.
Instead of picking him up immediately, I began comforting measures one step at a time to see what really works for him. I leaned over Jeffrey and called his name softly for about ten seconds. To Mom's surprise, Jeffrey stopped crying as soon as he heard my voice.
He is so smart,'" I said, "that right now he calmed down by just hearing my voice. That must be what happened the other day when you called his name ."
Wow! He's not retarded." Mom said, "He is gifted and talented!!"
All babies will at times need lots of their parent's help to calm down. But occasionally try calming your baby with this step-wise approach:
1. Call his name softly.
2. Hold his hands against his chest.
3. Pick him up in a cuddle.
4. Give him something to suck.
5. Swaddle him.
This step-wise approach will help you learn what works best for your baby, and you will appreciate even more how very special your baby is! See video clips at http://www.hugyourbaby.com/calming.html for tips on calming a baby.