Holding an inconsolable baby is stressful, and it’s during these times you may be tempted to move from rocking and cradling to shaking when baby doesn’t respond to your efforts to soothe her.
Shaken Baby Syndrome happens when a baby’s head is shocked from being shaken so violently that baby can die or be permanently disabled. This can happen in as little as 5 seconds of shaking.
When baby won’t stop wailing, remember these two things, says the CDC:
Create a care a plan for your inconsolable infant before you’re at your wits end:
First, assess and meet baby’s needs:
Second, give yourself a break:
Shaken Baby Syndrome—also called abusive head trauma—happens because a baby’s head is large and heavy but its neck muscles are weak. Shaking moves baby’s brain within its skull, causing bruising, swelling and bleeding, says the National Institutes of Health. This violent motion damages baby’s brain, eyes, spinal cord and neck—even fracturing bones. Hitting baby’s head against a pillow or mattress can be enough to cause injury or death.
You may know “never shake your baby”; but it’s also important to watch for signs that a relative or caregiver may have shaken your baby. Alert your baby’s healthcare provider if you notice your baby has any of the following:
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