It is the humble dream of most couples to have their own baby. However, with the joy of having a baby come several responsibilities and challenges. But unfortunately, while nursing this dream, most parents have no clue on how to keep the crying baby calm. More often than not, the methods that are employed include, soothing, brick walking, rocking, and shaking. The question here is this: – is it safe to bounce a baby up and down? This article reveals how certain playful interactions, such as shaking, can be dangerous for your baby.
What does bouncing a baby mean?
One of the major challenges that a new parent may face is the difficulty of putting a baby to sleep. This is why many parents resolve to methods like soothing or bouncing the baby in order to quicken the process. As a matter of fact, the ‘baby bounce’ method is one of the most wildly recognized tools to use.
Generally, bouncing a baby means, soothing, or swinging a baby. This is often done by holding your baby closely against your body, using one arm and hand to brace your baby’s bottom, and placing your other hand against your baby’s neck and the lower part of the back of her head. Then slowly bouncing yourself to help her relax and finally fall asleep.
Note, however, that while rocking or bouncing, your baby often feels good and gives you joy. If overly used, it can become a routine you can’t stop. That is, your baby becomes so rigid that she requires a bounce, each time she wants to sleep. When this happens, it is obvious that we overuse the bounce method.
Can bouncing a baby cause shaken syndrome?
The Shaken baby syndrome is a severe brain injury that often results from the forceful and violent shaking a baby. Other applicable names for this syndrome include – abusive head trauma, shaken impact syndrome, and whiplash shake syndrome.
Being a newborn with just a few months or years after conception, babies generally have soft brains and weak neck muscles with delicate blood vessels. Hence, shaking a baby or young child vigorously, either as a result of enthusiasm or anger, can cause the brain to hit the inside of the skull. Where this happens, it can trigger bruisings, bleeding, or swellings in the brain. It can also result to broken bones or damage to sensitive areas of the baby’s body, such as the eyes, spine, and neck.
In view of the above, it is obvious that it is not safe to shake your baby. While you can carry out playful interactions with your baby through bouncing, singing, gentle tossing, or swinging, you should never shake a baby under any circumstances. In fact, shaking a baby is considered a serious and deliberate form of abuse.
Have you been shaking your baby before knowing this and you ain’t sure of its effects? Don’t panic! Here are some symptoms you should look out for in your baby:
- Difficulty staying awake
- Body tremors, trouble breathing
- Poor eating, vomiting, skin discoloration
- Seizures, coma, and paralysis.
At the sight of these symptoms, do not hesitate to contact a doctor.
How can shaking syndrome be prevented?
It is not impossible to prevent Shaken baby syndrome. This can most importantly be done when you try as much as possible not to bounce your baby under any circumstances. Most especially in such times when it gets frustrating that you can’t get her to stop crying. Always keep in mind at this point that crying is a normal behavior in infants, and shaking is never the right response or cure to it.
Discover other safe means of receiving yourself and your baby of any stress or tension. You may do any of the following:
- Call a family member or a friend for support. Having someone else around to ease your frustration can help you keep yourself from losing control.
- Make inquiries about hospital-based programs that can teach you how to respond when your baby cries as well as the techniques of stress management
- It is also important to educate your family members and friends about the dangers of shaken baby syndrome.
However, where you discover that your baby has gone through a vigorous shaking which is having an adverse effect, do not be alarmed. Place a call to the medical unit and while you wait for them, you can do the following:
- Place your baby carefully on her back. Where you suspect a spinal injury, request the help of another person, and together, people gently move the baby, taking careful notice of her head and neck.
- After this, for a baby under the age of 1, put two fingers on the middle of the breastbone. While for a baby over age 1, you place one hand on the middle of the breastbone.
- Then put your second hand on the baby’s forehead to keep the head tilted backward. However, where it is a case of a suspected spinal injury, instead of tilting the head, pull the jaw forward and don’t let the mouth close.
- Procure 30 chest compressions without pausing while counting out loud. The compressions must be firm and fast.
- After the compressions, check for breathing, If there is no sign of breathing, don’t panic still, just tightly cover your baby’s mouth and nose with your mouth, making sure that the airway is open, and then give two breaths. Note that each breath should only last for about one second to make the chest rise.
It is also important to note that in some cases, the response of your baby after being shaken could be vomiting. Therefore, to prevent her from choking, gently roll her onto her side; rolling her entire body at the same time. At this point, do not pick up the baby or give the baby food or water.
Can swinging baby cause brain damage
Swinging your baby is generally an excellent tool for calming cranky babies down and giving parents an atom of peace. In this context, swinging could either be manual, with your hands, or with the use of a swing. Swinging is one of the normal ways parents or guardians play with their children. Thus, when you bounce your baby on your leg, swing her, or gently toss her into the air, you need not worry about causing any brain damage.
Good as it may be, however, you should not swing your baby for more than 30 minutes at a time. This is applicable, especially when you’re using a swing. This is because keeping your baby strapped in a swing for too long each day can cause plagiocephaly i.e. a flattening of the back of the head. Vigorous swings may also cause Shaken baby syndrome, which is severe brain damage.
Is it safe to bounce a baby on exercise ball?
Some parents, most especially mothers, make use of an exercise or yoga ball in calming their babies down. This is not entirely wrong, neither is it entirely right. This is because no two babies are the same. Therefore, while bouncing on an exercise ball may be fine with baby A, baby B might give a negative response.
On a general overview, careful bouncing on the ball may not cause any harm to your baby and ultimately save you a lot of stress. However, you must put it into consideration that the major reason the balls exist is for fitness, and it has the ability to turn a small amount of movement into a larger one. In other words, you get more motion for less effort.
This only means that you don’t get to have actual knowledge and control of how fast you’re moving and the violent impact it might be having on your baby.
Hence, while you can try to guarantee that you’re bouncing gently, the odds remain that you might be causing a brain injury to the baby.
Final word: Is it safe to bounce a Baby Up and Down?
Is it safe to bounce your baby? No! it is very dangerous to bounce your baby. Basically, it only takes a few seconds of shaking to cause irreversible brain damage to your infant or toddler. Many parents who did not have the privilege of knowing this beforehand have made such mistakes, and they regret it.
The joy of having a baby is that of a lifetime, but achieving successful safe infancy for your child lingers in the memory even longer, as would the other way round. Determine to avoid any possibility of danger to your baby’s health today and be happy you did. It is not safe to bounce your baby up and down. Avoid it at all cost.