- Hurts, Frustrations, and Anger“In the day when I cried out, you answered me, and strengthened me.” Psalm 138:3 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Dear God of all comfort, thank you for hearing my cries and answering my prayers when I come to you. Please give me the ability to empathize and encourage Baby when she cries, even as you comfort and strengthen me!
THOUGHT: Isn’t it amazing that we have a tenderhearted Savior who bears all our grief and carries our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4)? In Galatians 6:2, we are taught to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Sometimes compassion comes naturally, such as when Baby gets hurt. Sometimes bearing with Baby’s grief requires special patience, such as when Baby isn’t mature enough to do something she’s determined to do, and sometimes compassion is nigh unto impossible, especially in the middle of the night or when Baby’s anger seems rooted in her sinful nature and is totally unreasonable.
ACTIVITY: Practice trying to enter into Baby’s world of grief and woe the way Christ feels for us. Love “bears all things.” Even if Baby is lashing out at you in her frustration, pray for grace to keep your temper and not return “evil for evil.” Cry out to God for peaceful patience. If she’s angry without good cause, practice “sweet reasonableness.” Even before she can understand your words, she will learn by your example of gentle firmness, be strengthened in her soul, and sense that she is loved despite difficult circumstances.
- Caring for Baby When He’s Cranky“A man’s wisdom makes his face to shine, and the sternness of his face is changed.” Ecclesiastes 8:1 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Oh holy God, whose face shines brighter than the sun, casting rainbows of light all around your throne, thank you for Isaiah 45:22: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” May we always look to you until our faces shine with wisdom and are softened by your love.
THOUGHT: Nine times out of ten, if Baby is cranky, he is uncomfortable and/or overtired and needs your intervention. Instead of getting irritated, stop and ask yourself:
- “What does Baby want?” If what he wants is unreasonable or not possible…
- “What does Baby actually need, and how can I best provide for him?”
If our motivation is to care for our child because we love him rather than simply trying to train him to be a pleasant companion for our own pleasure, then our interventions and discipline will be emotionally nurturing.
ACTIVITY: If you’re in a spot (like a traffic jam) where you can’t give Baby what he needs right away…PRAY! Then, try distracting Baby from his misery temporarily by letting your whole face light up with an understanding smile. Make lots of funny faces. Tilt your head side-to-side, up and down, and all around in circles. Whistle. Sing or play music. Talk to him or tell him stories. And (of course), take care of his underlying needs as quickly as possible!
- Hand Awareness“Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.” Psalm 63:4
PRAYER: Dear Gentle Shepherd, who leads us with your strong right hand, who lifted little children into your arms and blessed them…please bless Baby as you blessed those little children. We lift our hands and bless you for being our Good Shepherd!
THOUGHT: Babies have an unusually strong grip and can actually support much of their weight, although their neck muscles aren’t strong enough to support their entire head yet.
ACTIVITY: Practice with Baby to get her to grab your two index fingers, and then lift her up an inch or two off the bed. Gently open Baby’s hands one at a time, tracing each of her fingers with your finger and then drawing tiny circles around the palms. Take Baby’s hands and touch them together. Let her feel her own fingers. Gently move Baby’s hand around in circles, allowing her to feel the sensation of her hands rubbing together, and then of moving apart in circular motions from the wrist. Move the arms back and forth and in gentle circles, rotating from the wrist, and then lift and rotate both her arms, making sure you never exert any pressure on Baby. Don’t try to increase flexibility the way you would for yourself! Baby is flexible enough! All these exercises are only intended to give Baby an awareness of the possibilities for her own movement and stimulate her muscles.
PRAYER: Dear Gracious Father, What an invitation! We ask for daily wisdom to walk in Light, to seek Love, and to live in the fullness of our eternal Life. May we bask in your presence and be filled with your spirit, growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ, and enjoying the amazing privilege of intimate fellowship with you. Help us perceive the spiritual realities behind the “looking glass” of life’s mysteries. As Einstein once said, “I want to know the mind of God. Everything else is just detail.”
THOUGHT: What do you desire most deeply for Baby? Ask God! If you want your baby to be happy (and what parent doesn’t?), remember: “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding” (Proverbs 3:13), and “He that handles a matter wisely shall find good: and whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he” (Proverbs 16:20).
ACTIVITY: Have you showed Baby the baby in the mirror? That may be an easy way to introduce him to other tiny babies such as those in the nursery with him. Wall mirrors are wonderful for letting Baby get a good look at himself and interact with a very fascinating “significant other” who is part self and part not! Show Baby his image from farther away and close up. Let Baby feel the smooth surface of the mirror and “touch” the hand of the baby in the looking glass. Smile at Baby in the mirror and see if you can get Baby to smile back. Try waving at the baby in the mirror and reaching out toward him!
Day 40. Anxiety and Reassurance“Fear not; for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)
PRAYER: Dear Mighty God, whom Moses declares “is thy life and the length of thy days,” thank you for your promises to strengthen us and uphold us with your righteous right hand. Thank you for the assurance that you have personally numbered all our days and that not even one hair of our heads falls without your knowledge and consent. Help us to cling to you, trusting you to provide strength for every trial.
THOUGHT: Checkups at the doctor can make Baby very insecure. Here are a few tips on how to comfort Baby during these frightening and sometimes painful experiences:
- Address the medical staff with a cheerful tone of voice to help Baby understand that you are unafraid and confident that all is well. This will help Baby feel secure.
- Hold Baby close and only give her up when necessary for examination and weighing.
- Hold her hand in yours and keep your face as close as possible to her even when you can’t hold her. (Don’t be self-conscious; Baby needs you!)
- Hold her in your arms when she has to get a shot and distract her as much as possible.
- Kiss and cuddle her when she cries and give her lots of sympathy.
PRAYER: Dear Prince of Peace, please bless Baby and keep him safe in your love, both when I am with him, and when we are apart. Help me to be faithful in seeking excellent care for him. Please keep me from allowing anyone unworthy to baby sit, and please protect him from every harm and danger. May he grow to be strong, wise, and gracious.
THOUGHT: When is it appropriate to leave your infant with a babysitter? Some mothers need to return to work very quickly while others switch careers entirely and become full-time moms. Regardless of what decision you make about work, with your discretionary time consider having weekly “dates” with your spouse. Your mate deserves and needs some time where you can concentrate without distraction on continuing to develop loving intimacy.
ACTIVITY: Prayerfully consider taking a short evening break away from Baby as soon as you think he will do well. Be sure that when you do get a sitter it is someone you know well or who comes highly recommended. Your sitter will be guarding something more precious than a million dollars, so be careful. On the other hand, if you have someone who is trustworthy and kind, short exposures to different people can be beneficial for Baby and the time out will really refresh you. Remember, good experiences are good for everybody!
- Startling Sounds!“Great peace have those who love your law: nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165 (ESV)
PRAYER: Dear Majestic Father, whose voice thunders like a waterfall crashing down a canyon, thank you that your gentle spirit speaks to us with “a still, small voice” in our hearts. May your words be like music to our souls to calm us in a world full of unrest and frightening sounds. May we be allowed to live “quiet and peaceable lives in godliness and honesty.” May your kingdom come and your will be done. May “mercy and truth kiss each other” and Love reign forever!
THOUGHT: If Baby has become agitated by a startling sound, comfort her, but then consider playing some lovely music to calm her further (especially if the distressing sounds are ongoing, like machinery or electrical storms). I believe that music is the language of the soul, and music can often soothe a restless infant.
ACTIVITY: Bless your baby with an exciting musical diet! Certainly a staple of soothing melodies nourishes the soul like breast milk nourishes the body: nature sounds, water sounds, woodland sounds, bird songs, and crickets…mood music to put one to sleep is perfect for keeping Baby peaceful. However, majestic classical music, inspiring hymns, grand orchestral music, and cheery children’s songs can all be very uplifting and engage Baby during wakeful times. When making musical choices, remember that Baby will become more wakeful if the music is tense but may become sleepy if the music is relaxing, so choose accordingly.