In this post I’ll discuss a serious and far too widespread incident with many new moms and babies- Shaken Baby Syndrome.
This syndrome is used to describe the damage to the baby’s brain after it is shaken. This movement causes the brain to “rattle” inside the skull. Hitting the skull causes bleeding and bruising to the brain. This can cause brain damage that can affect the baby’s development, or even death. This usually occurs when a parent or caregiver is overwhelmed by stress, anxiety or depression, causing them to lose control, shaking baby.
Your nurses will warn you about this while in the hospital but it’s important to know what causes this to occur. Most often, women with a history of anxiety, depression, or postpartum depression are at risk for this to happen to them. As baby’s get older, they sometimes get fussier and fussier. This can be extremely frustrating, especially for mom’s who are alone for large parts of most days. This frustration, coupled with sleep deprivation and a history of anxiety or depression can lead a woman to do ANYTHING to make her baby sleep. Eventually, she (or he if dad), may lose control. This sometimes leads the parent to shake the baby out of frustration.
This can happen to ANYONE. Lack of sleep, frustration, anxiety, depression, etc. are things that all new parents are at risk for. Watch for warning signs in you and your partner for anxiety, lack of sleep, and depression.
If you feel at any time out of control and overwhelmed, put the baby down and walk away. Share the stress with your partner and your doctor and GET HELP as soon as you think you need it. Support groups and family are great resources during these stressful times and can help you from making a devastating choice.
As always, email me with questions!