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A scream rings through the night. You’re tossing and turning in bed. I got up earlier, it sounds from the side. The screaming gets louder and louder. This is the third time tonight that the roaring concert has started and the fourth sleepless night in a row. The nerves are on edge. Now we mustn’t lose control.
Circles under the eyes, tension, and waking up in the night – every mother and father can tell you a thing or two about this. Situations like the one described are part of everyday life for new parents. No wonder that one bursts there times the collar. Nevertheless, you should never take out your frustration and stress on your baby – even shaking the baby can be life-threatening.
Many parents underestimate how dangerous it is to shake a baby. The numbers show that. Every year, between 100 and 200 newborns and toddlers are hospitalized with shaking trauma. Because their parents lost control for a few seconds, they carry a lifetime of damage.
Why Is Shaking Trauma So Dangerous?
Infants cannot yet hold their heads with their own strength. When parents shake their baby, the head flies forward and backward. Even slight, brief shaking can therefore cause severe brain injuries in infants. This is also still very delicate and sensitive in a baby.
Doctors then speak of a shaking trauma. One in three babies dies from such a shaking trauma. Only 10 to 20 percent of affected newborns do not suffer any permanent damage. In addition to the danger to life, there is the threat of a brief cessation of breathing and the tearing of blood vessels and nerve tracts. Many infants who suffer shaking trauma are severely disabled for life afterward.
Ignorance Endangers Children
Most are unaware of the danger that baby shaking poses. In a 2017 survey by the National Center for Early Intervention, 24 percent of respondents believed that shaking did not harm the baby. That sounds like a small number. However, when you consider that it’s a matter of life and death, it’s a frighteningly high number.
Therefore, inform babysitters, grandparents, neighbors, and acquaintances about the consequences of shaking trauma. If despite all warnings, you or others lose your temper, you must take your child to the hospital immediately! A few minutes can save your baby’s life.
Consequences Of Shaking Trauma
Infants can barely control their heads. This is because they have very weak neck muscles. As a result, 50 to 70 percent of babies who do not die from the shaking trauma carry serious injuries. The brain, eyes, skullcap, respiratory center, and the subdural space between the meninges are particularly vulnerable. If the child hits something, the skullcap is usually injured. The symptoms of shaking trauma are not clear. There may be fatigue and shortness of breath.
Inside the head, the damage is even greater. This ranges from injured nerve cells to bleeding in the eye. In most cases, numerous locations and structures in the head are damaged. This pattern of injury is also referred to as the “shaken baby” syndrome. Infants are the most severely affected. However, this does not mean that infants cannot suffer serious damage from shaking.
Babies with shaking trauma suffer these long-term injuries:
- Severe physical and mental impairment.
- Partial or total blindness.
- Developmental disorders and delays.
- Speech disorders.
- Learning disabilities.
Here’s How To Keep Control During Crying Spells – Shaking Trauma Prevention
Young babies are completely at the mercy of their parents. Be aware of your responsibility and never lose control of yourself. Everyone understands that mothers and fathers are easily annoyed, stressed, and tense. No wonder, little sleep and the high volume level of crying can be very stressful. Still, there are ways to handle tension and frustration responsibly.
The bottom line is: don’t take out your anger on or in front of your baby. For one thing, it can’t help crying and being defenseless. It’s dependent on your help, just like any newborn. For another, your baby is very sensitive and easily hurt. In spite of everything, you can of course vent your anger. Just in a different way. This is the best way to deal with an annoying crying concert in the middle of the night:
The Baby Cries, The Nerves Are On Edge – And Now?
- Let your baby be a screamer for a moment and take some time for yourself. If you already have the baby in your arms and realize that you are about to lose your temper, put him in a safe place. For example, take your baby back to his crib or cradle.
- Get away from the crying and leave the room.
- Now you can release your anger and tension. Roar, stomp, let your tears flow and make room for all your anger.
- Now take three deep breaths. Reassure yourself that you love your child and why you need to care for him.
- Now you can relax and look after the child.
Can’t get rid of the tension so quickly? Then you can repeat the procedure several times. Leave the room and check on your baby every few minutes. If you notice that nothing works anymore, get support. Grandparents, friends, or babysitters can also check on your child.
You don’t have to feel like an incapable parent if you get support. No one can handle a week without sleeping well. Dare to admit when it’s too much for you and you’re reaching your own limits. Honesty makes it easier for those around you to help you. After all, good friends and beloved family members want the best for you and your baby, too.
Take Turns With Your Partner
It also makes sense if baby cries don’t become an argument topic between you and your partner. Make sure that you take turns and relieve each other regularly. This way, you can prevent one of you from reaching his or her limits and losing control. To ensure this, it helps if you talk openly and honestly about your feelings and tensions – without blaming the other person, of course.