The "Slow down and breathe" challenge part 3: The benefits

When we do manage to slow down and have dedicated time to just breathe and observe our children, we may find that we can be intentional to think about what we enjoy, we can savor the moments as children grow so quickly, and we might even learn something new about the way that our children grow.

For example:  once upon a time there was a baby who was struggling to sleep. His mama was so tired and frustrated, because no matter what she did, he woke up after just a 30-40 minute nap. But she trusted her baby and new that there must be a reason why he kept waking up. One day, she decided that even though she was so very tired, she would stay up and watch her son sleep. She watched and waited to see if there was a clue about what was waking him up. She noticed that when he started to get into a lighter sleep, his arms flailed out and he startled himself awake. It seemed that his baby reflexes made him feel like he was falling, since he was sleeping on his back.  He startled and woke himself up! This mama started to swaddle her baby for his naps, and he started to sleep better!  When this mama was able to slow down and breathe, she noticed what was going on, and she was able to respond to her baby appropriately. 

Slowing down

As I mentioned in my newsletter this week, the challenge this month is to slow down and breathe. 

If you watch the Gottman Institute's "What's Baby Saying?" video, Dr. Gottman explains that "it is important to realize that babies operate on a much, much slower time scale than adults.  You may remember when you were a child, a summer seemed to last forever. Now as you get older, summers go by very, very quickly.  Because the world is so much slower for children, it takes time for a baby to react to things. Newborns, for example, will imitate you, but it's a great deal of effort for them to do this. It will take them 10-40 seconds before that imitation really happens. But as busy adults, we are often out of the room doing ten other things by the time the baby has gotten around to imitating us. So one of the first things you have to do is slow way, way down. It will add a lot to your life if you can turn off the television, not answer the phone, and really spend a lot of time in sustained play with your baby, learning how to read your baby's signals. Every baby is different, so you need to get to know your baby as an individual. You don't have to devote 95% of your time to playing with your baby. Just be fully present and engaged when you are playing with your baby. That's another thing that's special about babies. They are fully engaged in the moment!"

Speaking of newborns imitating, I love this video of a newborn imitating his dad!