Meditation for Caregivers Who are Concerned about Their Crying Babies


HAPPYBABY4_m Recently I read a wonderful article published by the Natural Parents’ Network, called “Grounding for Babies; Calming Babies with Caregiver Meditation” by Amy Phoenix. //

She starts by pointing out that babies feel what their mothers feel, both in and out of the womb. She goes on with what caring for a crying baby can elicit in the baby’s mother or caregiver, and asks the question, “What if these trying moments are actually an invitation?” An invitation for us to ground ourselves by using a simple meditation technique; bringing attention to this moment, bringing attention deeply into your body, letting yourself feel like a tree that is deeply rooted in the ground.

“Grounding meditation can help us calm ourselves so we can listen more deeply to the crying and sense whether it is due to needs not being met or a need for emotional release.” I was so inspired, reading these words. I’ve never heard them from anyone but me, and Infant Massage Instructors trained by my organization.

For thirty-five years, this has been a part of our instructor training; teaching parents to ground themselves and truly listen to their babies:

Allow your baby to cry in your arms to release stress. As Amy says, “Some babies may need to cry for awhile to release stress. Holding a crying baby in loving arms is totally different from leaving a baby alone to cry.” Couldn’t have said it better myself. There is a chapter on this in my book, — Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents. When I began talking about this, it was a foreign concept. Finally, now many other sources have picked up on this idea and are teaching parents how to ground, meditate, and breathe through their crying baby’s episodes. We teach parents to use a three-step process:

1. Take a long, slow, deep breath, and relax your whole body. This counteracts the tendency to hold your breath and tighten up when your baby is crying.

2. Know that you have unconscious memories, perhaps of “crying it out.” Affirm to yourself that this is not YOU, it is your baby. Make eye contact if you can, place your hands gently and firmly on the baby’s body. Let your love go to your baby, communicating that you are listening.

3. Stay with your baby, keeping yourself very relaxed and receptive. Listen and respond; watch your baby’s mouth and what your baby is saying with his eyes. When you are certain your baby feels heard, offer the comfort of rocking, walking, bouncing, cuddling to help your baby get “organized.”

When we can relax and truly listen to our infants, we  fulfill all of their psychological needs. The chalice of the baby’s heart is filled to overflowing, and as she grows, she will seek opportunities to share her love with others.

Of course, first we find out if there is something that is causing the crying besides stress — hunger, diaper needing changing, chaotic environment, etc. When it becomes clear that the baby is releasing pent-up emotional stress, grounding meditation, rhythmic bouncing and patting, singing, and even crying WITH your baby, helps he/she to know you are empathic and that your baby doesn’t feel alone.

by Vimala McClure