by Khushi Mohunta
The general idea of trauma is usually associated with psychological issues or unfortunate events. So, how does this relate to precious and adorable newborns? Perhaps not in the same way, but there are parallels. Similar to trauma in adults, trauma in newborns can either be physical injuries or emotional harm. Let’s go over both to see how they differ in children and how we can foster a healing environment.
Types of trauma in Newborns
- Physical Injury
Physical trauma in infants can occur before, during, or shortly after birth. It may affect a newborn’s physical development and growth. It could lead to disabilities and disorders that impact the newborn’s life. Fortunately, the sooner you spot this, the better care they will receive. Accidents, physical abuse, or physically exhausting activities carried out by the mother during her pregnancy can cause physical trauma to newborns as well. Excessive pressure applied to the baby’s body during delivery can lead to physical trauma. At times, mishandled delivery techniques, inappropriate use of forceps, or vacuum extractors could exert strain on the newborn’s body.
2. Emotional Concerns
Although babies and newborns cannot react in the same way that older kids do, that does not mean that they don’t feel or notice distressing situations. Traumatic events like illnesses, abuse, death in the family, violence, or crime in the first three years of a baby’s life are likely to impact certain aspects of their development. These could be barries in language skills, the ability to create parental bonds, social skills, managing emotions, and even mobility.
3. Signs of Trauma in Newborns
Traumatic events in a newborn’s life scare them. While they cannot ask for help or talk about it, there are other ways they show symptoms of trauma.
- Newborns may experience severe discomfort when they are separated from their primary caregiver or parent
- They may have a shocked or terrified look on their adorable faces
- Appearing numb or seeming kind of “cut off” from the events around them
- Absence of playfulness, actively smiling, and cooing in the way babies do
- Involuntary eating
- They may avoid eye contact
- Unsettled and extremely difficult to soothe
- More clumsy in physical activities like sitting, walking, and crawling
4. Trauma Healing for Newborns
Regardless of the techniques and approaches, whatever you do as a parent, do it with love. Make your routine more structured and predictable to reassure them of your security and stability. Avoid emotional triggers that could remind the child of the traumatic event. Parents and caregivers can help the child in several ways to cope with trauma.
5. Acceptance and Support
While denial is the less painful route, denying the signs of emotional trauma in a newborn is unacceptable. As overwhelming and heartbreaking as it is to imagine this possibility, it is important to accept it. You can offer the baby the support they seek only after accepting the situation.
6. Calm Atmosphere
First and foremost, create a positive environment for your newborn. Any parent can create a calm ambiance with care and effort. Take them out for fresh air. Play peaceful music that encourages a sense of tranquility.
7. Soothing Activities
These may involve rocking the baby back and forth in rhythmic movements. Gentle strokes on their backs, tummies, and chests help them feel cherished and cared for.
8. Routine is Key
A steady routine offers newborns a sense of reliance, predictability, and stability. For instance, make a schedule of various activities and stick to it. These activities may include cuddling your newborn, sleeping, and feeding.
9. Pay Attention and Talk
Talking to a newborn promotes not only better speech but also reassures them. Tell them about your day, sing to them, and pay close attention to their needs.
10. Patience while Adjusting
Recovery necessitates taking two steps back for every step forward. It is normal for a newborn to fall back into old habits, as that’s what their norm used to be. It takes time for them to adjust again, so be patient.