Crying Babies & Anxiety: How to Cope When Your Baby's Cries Lead to Your Stress by Dr. Sarah Allen
Does your baby’s cry stir up feelings of anxiety and panic? You are not alone! Having a baby changes the structure of the brain so that regions that control empathy and anxiety have increased activity and that, along with hormonal changes, can make new moms react to a baby’s cry with intense feelings of protectiveness and worry.
An anxiety response to cries is especially typical in mothers who are dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety. It is especially strong after a traumatic birth, as the mama bear instinct increases because they were primed by the belief that something bad was going to happen to the baby or themselves. If this happens to you I recommend that you first take a few deep breaths by inhaling through the nose to the count of three, then slowly exhaling through the mouth to the count of four. This activates a chemical in your brain to calm these physical responses down and then once panic has subsided, you will be better able to assess the situation.
Crying is the main way our baby communicates with us, but it doesn’t always mean there is something terrible happening. He may just be uncomfortable or bored. Stay calm. The crying will stop.
Learn more about a baby's cry and anxiety.