Much like we feel better when we know what to expect, talking to your baby about what’s coming up gives her comfort as well. Be your baby’s tour guide by talking about where you are at, what you are doing, what you are doing next, who they might see, or steps to an activity.
Talking to your baby about what is happening and what changes are coming helps her feel secure and helps her anticipate those changes. This can be talking to her about your daily routine (“we are going to play then eat lunch”), people that will be visiting (“remember, grandma’s coming today”), or places she will go (“we are going to the grocery store…we can get bananas and apple sauce…”). Use simple words and short phrases and repeat the same concepts over and over.
Practice activities that might be stressful for you and/or your child. These might include going to the doctor, going to childcare, or going for some medical tests. You can prepare your child by practicing at home and at your visit. Example practice for a doctor’s visit:
- Talk to your baby about going to the doctor (“we are going to see Dr. Ellerbeck today”).
- Practice with your baby, pretend to look in her ears, nose, and listen to her heartbeat. Talk her through each step. You can use pretend doctor toys or just practice with imaginary items. Do this at home and at the doctor’s office.
Help prepare baby for immunizations. You can help your baby (and you) feel less stress about getting her shots by preparing her for what the nurse will do.
- Talk baby through steps and practice right before she gets the immunizations (in between the doctor and nurse visit is a great time).
- Use short, simple, positive words to describe what will happen. “The nurse is going to give you a push, push on your leg, then all done”.
- Get her body used to the position she will be in. For example, slide her to the end of the table, lie her down with legs off, and say “push, push” while poking her thigh gently with your finger. “Then all done”.
**Practicing this a few times with your baby may help decrease her stress as well as her crying time!