As we all know, there are some instances when we know what our child is crying about, but we are powerless to immediately take that pain away. Sometimes, it's from constipation, a scraped knee, or teething to name a few examples. There are many suggestions (and many other posts) on how to help the problem (pain relievers, cold compress, or distraction for example), but I've yet found a way to help them through the pain itself.

Here is an example: My son is teething. While I know many remedies for teething, sometimes, the acetaminophen doesn't work, or takes a while to take effect, sometimes he spits out what I've offered him to chew on, and I'm left with a screaming child that I am powerless to comfort and I feel like I've failed him in some way.

Are there any special ways we can just comfort them through the problem?

asked 23 Nov '09, 06:48

DarwinsMom's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

+1 for just wanting take the pain away

(23 Nov '09, 07:18) Emi

It's only natural for a parent to want to take the pain away... But let's not forget that pain plays a major role in our life. For example, a careless child may not remember falling down and getting bruised, but pain has a way of lodging into our psyche in a way that will ultimately help the child make the connection between carelessness and falling down.

(23 Nov '09, 09:18) Yuval

@Yuval Yes, pain exists all around us has many many dimensions... it may be natural to want to take the pain away for every parent, but I was moved DarwinsMom question :)

(23 Nov '09, 17:03) Emi

This is effectively an extension to Emi's answer. Being completely "with" the child is hugely important.

For me the main thing is to acknowledge that understand it hurts, as well as providing "normal" comfort such as cuddles.

If the child is used to you being able to take pain away, they may think that if you're not taking the pain away, that's because you don't believe they're in pain to start with. Telling them that you know it hurts, that they're being very brave etc can help.

Also, we have a gel pouch which stays in the fridge most of the time for scraped knees etc. I'm sure that sometimes it doesn't actually relieve the pain, but putting Mr Bump on the wound can be psychologically comforting. Obviously that sort of thing will only be appropriate for some occasions, but the placebo effect is a good thing :)


answered 23 Nov '09, 07:38

Jon%20Skeet's gravatar image

Jon Skeet
accept rate: 35%

+1 For Mr Bump, we have the Little Miss Giggles gel pouch, and yes it can distract her, and help her forget about the scrapes and grazes on her legs at that moment!

(23 Nov '09, 17:15) Emi

Thanks for the insight. I never thought to just say that I know it hurts, and why. I think comunication is very important, even at ages when it seems they don't understand. And he definitely is used to me taking the pain away.

(23 Nov '09, 21:23) DarwinsMom

I still practice the same things I did when from when my daughter was much younger, and thats to hold her in my arms and concentrate on her fully and making sure she feels that. I look into her eyes and stroke her forehead, if she has tears, I stroke her tears and stroke the area where there is a problem, and this could be a tummy ache or a bruised knee. Itry to calm her and while do so I speak softly to her about how the pain will go.

I do it like this because it feels right and because I feel that it works with her.

Shutting off completely for a few minutes and sharing those moments works for us. This may seem like meditation, or something spiritual like saying a prayer, for some.


answered 23 Nov '09, 07:29

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%

Hugs + singing.

I've always considered the two combined to be so effective because your child can feel the vibrations of your voice / heartbeat - even if Dad is tone deaf ;)


answered 23 Nov '09, 20:25

Mungo's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

edited 23 Nov '09, 21:31

We've had luck trying to engage our daughter in something else, either play, or carrying her around and looking at novel things (even after 14 months, you can still find novel stuff to look at in our house). Mostly I think this is distraction, plus it seems to be comforting just to be with us.


answered 23 Nov '09, 11:00

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦
accept rate: 10%

I'm always surprised by how effective kissing it better can be. I think gentle touch like kissing and stroking is actually helpful, possibly even beyond the psychological effect of having someone showing their love. I only have my own experience to base this on, but I suppose it might work something like acupuncture by confusing the nerve signals sending the pain messages to the brain.


answered 23 Nov '09, 12:04

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

We use the homeopathic teething tablets. Who knows if they work, but there is definitely an effect that the kids think it is something comforting - now that we no longer use pacifiers.


answered 24 Nov '09, 15:58

Cade%20Roux's gravatar image

Cade Roux
accept rate: 0%

We used the teething tablets with both of our kids and they worked very well, especially on our daughter. We struggled to find something that would work for her, so the teething tablets were like a miracle. Now we give them as baby gifts and the parents that get them report the same effect we had.

(05 Nov '12, 13:27) mkcoehoorn

Try a pillow speaker under the child's pillow, or under the sheet, directly under the pillow, playing soothing music, sounds from nature, children's tales or lullabies, or even a recorded message from a distant loved one -- such as a parent that is not home, a grandparent, sibling, etc.

You can find these at: www.pillow-phonic.com


answered 02 Nov '12, 14:04

Ernesto%20Contenti's gravatar image

Ernesto Contenti
accept rate: 0%

As an infant, they need lots of cuddles but be careful that you don't continue to treat each little boo-boo this way as they get older. There does come a point where cuddling them for every pain is detrimental. When that time comes you need to save the cuddles for when they are really sick.


answered 05 Nov '12, 13:24

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Asked: 23 Nov '09, 06:48

Seen: 5,905 times

Last updated: 05 Nov '12, 13:27