How does a fetus and infant learn to tell the difference between safety and danger? Their first awareness is of their own body, then of the outer world’s influence on it. It starts while Baby is still immobile and vulnerable, in the womb.
So during and in the months after pregnancy is a great time to facilitate the body’s being able to recognize its body as safe, and its environment as safe. We’re built to do this in an environment that’s somewhat different than we live in today.
The idea here is to minimize the risk factors which may stand in the way of a developing nervous system. There’s probably too much to do for anybody, so pick the low-lying fruit: do what’s easiest first, and see how much you can change. The key is to question your assumptions about need and want.
Eons ago, when today’s functional difficulties were rare, we didn’t have technology’s convenience and lack of movement. People walked, cranked, stirred, pushed and pulled, instead of using electricity to do those things. Wireless technology was unheard of, until the advent of radio, then of television. Think of it was like before that: if you can picture electrical things floating around then, it might be from storms or trees. If you could picture electrons now, how many would there be?
Electromagnetic fields is energy that surrounds or flows from anything that’s electrified. The stronger the electrical field, the more electrons flow through, in and around you (and baby). TVs and computers (even hand-held ones aka phones). Everyone thinks getting more bars on your phone is better, but I’m here to break that paradigm. It means more electromagnetic energy swirling around you. While part of you cheers — no dropped calls! — another part of you should pause. It’s a little like getting the BIGGEST donut with the MOST frosting: looks good but is it good for you? Moreover, is it good for your little one?
Things to especially avoid:
Anything that works automatically: doors that open automatically are sending out electrified signals waiting for you.
Things that work wirelessly: remotes (TV, garage doors, personal assistants “Siri/Alexa, turn on my lights” means that the signal is sent wirelessly).
Telephones, the “smarter” the more to be avoided.
Routers and router-extenders.
Smart watches and FitBits are constantly aiming EMFs at your wrist.
Baby monitors! Yes, we monitored our babies before the monitors were available. You too can do it, cheaper, and with less difficulty: merely keep the door open and stay in earshot. Worked for lo those many years, but we assume we need those now.
Cars with all the spiffy electronics, are not so great to have around in-utero babies and growing children. Backup camera? Lane assist? Navigation? Even power brakes, windows, door locks all emit electromagnetic fields.
Your hairdryer and curler/hair straightener are all electrified. Clocks, microwave, refrigerator, all electrified.
But we’re talking about taking care of the low-lying fruit. Let’s take the easy things:
Routers. Yours should be furthest you can get away from where people (especially babies) spend the most time: the bedroom. Moreover, that electricity still floats around the house, so turn yours off at night.
Phones. Yours should be far from your bedroom at night, preferably turned off. You’re sleeping, so you ought’n’t miss it. Also, please don’t wear it! Not in any pockets, and certainly not tucked inside a shirt. If you’re pregnant, don’t have it anywhere near baby — like in a purse then slung over your shoulder so purse (and phone) are near baby.
You get the idea. You’re building a risk/benefit budget here, so the more risks you can minimize, the less of the beneficial stuff you have to do to overcome your risks.
What else can you do, besides minimize electricity (especially wireless electricity) near any growing body? The usual stuff, about healthy food, preferably organic and free of MSG and Roundup-tainted stuff, is smart. Lots of water. Minimize stuff you know you shouldn’t do.
How about exercise? Rather than exercising in a room with an electric treadmill/weights/TV/earbuds on, there’s little better that you could do than go for a walk OUTSIDE. Off of concrete is better than on concrete, but do what you can. Getting in breezes, amongst other living things, away from buildings, is splendid. It’s a wonderful time of the year for starting a garden, which is a marvelous anxiety-busting activity (there’ll be an entire newsletter on why that is so, but take it from me, it’s a great thing to do).
Varied micro-movements: Think of how your grandmother’s life differs from yours. What can you do to casually and conveniently add some of that movement back in?
Vary your baby’s sensory input, however/wherever it is. If in utero, see what you can do to spice up its life, so to speak. Eat varied foods, listen to different music than you usually do. Vary the pitch. Dance to the varied music. Bounce a bit. Change your posture.
After your baby is born, make sure both of you get outside, in breezes. Show your baby what grass feels like, in hands, on the tummy, all over! Feel bark on trees. Dirt. Concrete. Watch bugs! Raindrops.
Save money! Dump and and all of “convenience” things aimed at making things easier or more convenient for baby! Nursing pillows, car seat usage other than in cars, tray walkers, are all unnecessary. Bouncy seats, swings, lounger-nests that limit their movement, and bumbo seats are all expenses and hamper your child’s development.
If you’re the person who claims that your version of camping means going to Holiday Inn, I fret for you, because not only is YOUR nervous system having to compensate, but you’re not going to be able to teach your baby’s system nearly as easily. Not going camping frequently (hopefully not always) means “I don’t like varied sensory input.” This is the kind of input, however, that you NEED. So, take it slowly and gently, in small amounts, for just a little few sensory tastes at a time, until you get used to it. A walk in the woods, preferably on as close-to-nature path as you can manage, is a marvelous thing to prevent anxiety.