Does your baby cry a lot of the time? Is your baby easily irritated and just never seems content?

Read on to discover an often overlooked but highly significant reason behind your baby’s irritations.

Every parent wants a happy, content baby. However what happens when this is not the case?

The result is often a baby, who seems to cry constantly, does not want to feed, appears to be easily irritated and does not sleep.

What then for the parents? Parents are often left with Feelings of frustration, anxiety and a sense of helplessness and possible depression.

However did you know there is an answer to explain why your baby presents as very easily irritated and never seems to be content.

The answer lies in understanding your baby’s sensory processing system, in turn being able to read your baby’s signals and act accordingly.

You are possibly wondering what I am talking about. Let me explain.

All babies learn by receiving input through their different senses. The senses consist of:-

  • Touch
  • Movement
  • Sense of space
  • Sound
  • Taste
  • Smell

The baby converts this sensory input into a learning experience.

These inputs can be in the form of:-

Baby touching different textures – in the form of toys, clothes and skin.
Receiving touch from parent in the form of massage and general handling of baby during everyday routines for example bath time, nappy changing.

Sounds a baby hears.

Movements a baby engages in and also as a result of movement from parent for example bouncing, swinging, car journeys.

Sense on space (body position)
Our muscles and joints give us a sense of the position of our bodies. This is important to allow us to know what position we are in and how our limbs are moving without having to use eyes. For example touching our nose with finger while eyes are closed.

Taste and Smell
Food, milk a baby tastes and smells.

Most babies translate the input into a positive learning experience and learn how to respond in a meaningful way, for example playing purposefully with age appropriate toys.

However for a significant proportion of babies the input they receive through their senses does not result in a positive learning experience. They find the input irritating, overwhelming, over stimulating and are unable to respond in a positive way. As a result these babies spend a lot of time crying, appearing easily irritated, not sleeping or not feeding.

The term used for these difficulties in sensory processing is referred to as Sensory Integration difficulties.

If these difficulties go untreated, the long term consequence can be learning, behavioural or social difficulties as the child gets older.

How do you determine if your baby has difficulty processing sensory input?

Please refer to the checklist for a detailed questionnaire if your baby appears to cry constantly, is easily irritated, does not feed or will not sleep.

Following completion of the questionnaire your baby may benefit from advice or input from a Paediatric Occupational Therapist.
The Paediatric Occupational Therapist will be able to advise you on a home programme if appropriate to treat the difficulties helping to restore a happy content baby.

Please stay tuned for more articles on sensory processing and your baby’s development

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