Are you caught in the Crazy Cortisol Cycle?
Cortisol is the hormone that your body produces when it gets stressed, or over tired. When you run out of energy, your body produces extra cortisol to put fuel in your blood to help you cope. Learn more about Cortisol Here.
What if your baby is teething and is in pain when it's time for his nap? You can try to get him to go to sleep but the pain keeps him awake and he gets a cortisol rush. Comfort him, pay attention to him and let the nap attempt go. You can try again in an hour, maybe less. Let's say this happens again, with the next nap attempt he is still teething painfully. And the next nap attempt and the next nap attempt. Now it's bedtime and he has had terrible day sleep. He has lots of extra cortisol in his system that makes it extra hard to fall asleep at bedtime. AND he frequently wakes up all night from teething pain and cortisol from all those missed naps. You may ask yourself, "What am I doing wrong?"
The answer is, If you are asking yourself this question, you are probably doing it pretty right. You care! You are making every effort to figure your baby out. This is coping time. Attention is what your baby needs. YOU are the answer. All that holding, night responding, nap attempting is right.
My friend Yaffi Lvova (of Baby Bloom Nutrition) was talking to me about about this and I love how she put this so I'm just going to quote her.
"Getting caught in the cortisol cycle and getting a terrible night when the baby is teething or accomplishing a big milestone is part of motherhood and it doesn't mean that I did anything wrong, so to speak. We, as mothers, tend to internalize everything, leading to some serious guilt over things that we often have no control over. I can't control the amount of teeth coming in or how quickly they come in any more than I can control the weather pattern. There are some difficult nights. And then they grow up."
She is so right! Anytime things don't run smoothly, we take the blame as mothers. We can control our attitudes and actions but children have their own bodies and rates of developments. Every baby is unique. Some babies teethe easy and some babies teethe very painfully. Our ability as mothers doesn't change this. What we can do is try to meet the needs of our babies, be there for our babies, and just do our best. It is enough.
Milestones and growing is a part of life. Did you know that during many of the early milestones, the brain circumference actually jumps in size? That has got to be uncomfortable! What can mom's do to help? Hold, cuddle, respond, repeat. Don't beat yourself up. Don't blame yourself. Everyday is a new day to try to help your child be the best they can be.
Soon they will be teenagers and I will have some fresh insights to share.