Your baby may not be able to communicate their thoughts verbally, but can they can still sense when mommy is feeling stressed out?
The answer is yes, according to Huff Post Parents and this study that says, for infants, stress may be caught, not taught.
Lead researcher Sara Waters, postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, San Francisco said this, “Our research shows that infants ‘catch’ and embody the physiological residue of their mothers’ stressful experiences.” Your bodily responses, the sounds you make, your heartbeat–even your odor– are all factors that tell your baby mommy needs a time out to inhale and exhale. Nobody wants their baby to feel their negative emotion but mother and child are so tied to one another, it happens naturally.
When my youngest daughter was born, I had the worst habit of raising my voice when she was sleeping on my chest, breastfeeding or I was wearing her in the sling. She would be peacefully existing and whenever I had to yell or raise my voice to get the attention of her siblings, I would startle her so terribly and her whole body would tense up and she’d cry. I felt terrible. Then again, I also had five other kids under the age of eight to tend to. Raising my voice was just a way I survived, I guess. Still, I wonder if this has anything to do with her penchant for being a drama queen.
Unfortunately, we all don’t have the option of living perfectly serene lives. I wish I could say I was chilling in a hammock everyday when my children were newborns, stress-free and blissed out but this was clearly not the case. I think our babies are going to feel some negative emotion from us at some point because it’s life. I supposed the take away from this would be to try our best to manage our stress, for our own health and as an example to our children.
As a mother, our well-being is important to our entire family, especially our babies who so clearly feel all of our emotions.