Problem Solving Toolkit by Sarah Norris

publication date: Sep 6, 2017
author/source: Sarah Norris

The Bay Detective by Sarah NorrisAs a parent you gradually get to know your baby, their temperament, their habits, likes and dislikes. You learn what winding, soothing and distracting techniques work best, and you learn their tolerances for pain and hunger, and their sleep needs.

However, in the heat of the moment when things are not going well, when baby is screaming and you are stressed and exhausted it is very easy to forget some of the things you usually do to calm them.

To help you cope in this situation it can be a good idea to write yourself a reminder list of all the tricks, strategies and equipment that you have found work best for your baby – your very own Problem Solving Toolkit that you can refer to whenever you need.

Do this when you are calm and have time to think clearly. Use your phone or tablet, or baby’s notebook, as long as it is easily accessible when you really need it (keep a copy on your phone so that you can still read it in a darkened room).

Make a note of every tool you can think of that you have already used successfully:

  • Dummy/pacifier
  • Favourite distracting or comfort toy
  • Buggy/pram
  • White noise machine
  • Baby sling

You can also record strategies or actions. What positions does your baby love or hate when happy/sad/tired/in meltdown/with wind/constipation? I’ve known babies that love being cuddled facing inwards when happy, but prefer facing outwards when overtired.

What is the best way to distract them if upset or in pain?

  • Which toys work best?
  • Which music or song?
  • Dancing?
  • Looking out of a window?
  • Bright lights and shiny metal in the bathroom?
  • A walk around the garden?
  • Watching other children play?
  • Television?

Will going for a walk help baby calm down or settle? Would it help you calm down? (don’t forget you matter too).

Which winding positions work best for baby when overtired and stressed?

  • Active movements and positions that distract?
  • Passive movements that calm and soothe?

Are there any situations your baby hates?

  • Loud noise?
  • Being held by strangers?
  • Being fed in a noisy room when overtired?
  • Being too hot?
  • Being made to wait for a feed?

What does your baby love?

  • Being on the changing mat?
  • Being distracted by TV/people during feeds?
  • Being naked?
  • Being under the mobile in the cot?
  • Watching trees through windows?
  • Being in a baby bouncer/chair/jumparoo?
  • Having a bath? On their own or with parents or siblings?

What calms you down, or relaxes you when you are stressed?

  • Who could you call or visit?
  • Will a warm drink help?
  • Will a walk help?
  • What music will energise you or calm you?
  • Are you being too hard on yourself?
  • Do you need more support from your partner/friends/family?

Remember, you are as important as your baby; perhaps more so, because they are totally reliant on you to take care of them, which you cannot do properly if you are neglecting yourself. 

Published by Orion Spring, The Baby Detective: Solve your baby problems your way by Sarah Norris is available from Amazon and book shops.