A 10-pound mass of human creates a lot of noise, and new parents feel pretty inadequate when they can’t stop the crying. There’s help! Experts and experienced parents share ways to calm and soothe a fussy or crying baby.
The best thing parents can do when their infant is crying is to stay calm. An increase in your stress level will increase your baby’s. Remain calm and your baby might follow suit.
Check Baby’s Diaper
A wet or soiled diaper is one of the most common reasons for a baby’s tears. Even if you have recently changed your baby’s diaper, it’s still a good idea to check again. Check Baby’s diaper first before trying other calming methods, and change as needed.
Check Baby’s Temperature
Feel the back of your baby’s neck to see if she is too hot or too cold. Add or remove layers accordingly. If you’re not sure whether the skin temperature feels normal, take your baby’s temperature with a thermometer. If your baby has a fever—any temperature above 100.4°F or 38°C—you should call your child’s doctor.
Most babies cry when they are hungry. Try offering the breast or bottle to soothe your little one.
Sometimes breastfeeding mothers worry that they will overfeed their babies because their babies seem to want to eat so often. Experts say it is normal for breastfeeding babies to eat often, as breast milk is quickly absorbed.
Ease Gas Pain
If Baby starts crying after a feeding, he may have a gas bubble. Try patting his back, bending his knees toward his chest, or rubbing his back while he lies on your lap to release the gas.
Successful burping is a skill most parents come to pride themselves on, but it’s also one of the oddest things a person could have imagined doing before becoming a parent. If you need extra help, read about the art of baby burping, or watch how it’s done.
It’s surprising how often this method works. Parents who’ve tried this suggest making faces or blowing raspberries as surefire ways to make Baby laugh, and to take her mind off of the reason for her tears.
Sometimes, all a baby needs is love. Take a few moments to snuggle with your little one. Give him kisses and hugs, hold him close, and tell him how much you love him.
Change the Way You Hold Baby
Some little ones like to be held over the shoulder, some prefer the football hold, and still others like to be held facing out. Experiment to learn what your infant likes best.
Sing or Hum
Soft, gentle songs sung by a familiar voice will often calm Baby’s cries. Even if the singer is not particularly gifted, give this tip a try. Humming also offers a soothing vibratory sensation.
A slow, repetitive motion can lull Baby into a peaceful state. The warmth of a loved one’s body and the snuggling that goes along with the dance are added benefits.
Gently Rock or Bounce
Rocking in a chair or baby swing often helps to calm a baby, but pay attention to your child’s cues. For some little ones, the motion can actually be over-stimulating.
Some experts recommend a gentle bounce with Baby. Hold Baby against your chest, facing you in an upright position, and bend slightly at the knees. This movement imitates the gentle motion Baby experiences in the womb.
Sometimes the reason for Baby’s discomfort lies beneath the surface. For this reason, experts suggest undressing your baby completely and looking to see if you can spot a physical problem. Snaps can pinch little legs and diaper tape can stick to tender skin.
Give Baby a Bath
Warmth and water offer many calming benefits. A few drops of lavender oil in the bath can also help Baby relax. The bath might help ease Mom’s tension, too, so feel free to hop in with your little one.
Studies have shown that holding Baby right against your body, with chests and abdomens touching, not only calms babies but also enhances the maternal-infant bond.
Lay your bare baby on a warm, firm surface in a frog-like position, and then gently rub her back, aiming toward the lower back. Don’t rub too lightly, though, or you could tickle her and make her even fussier. This massage method can be so effective that Baby falls asleep. If this happens, be sure to turn her over to her back so she can sleep safely.
Although the use of pacifiers is controversial in some circles, many babies find comfort in sucking. If your baby doesn’t need to be fed, but does need to suck, offer one and see how he reacts.
Reduce External Stimulation
Babies sometimes cry because there is too much going on for their little minds to process. Try dimming the lights, removing toys, and reducing noise levels.
Wrapping your baby tightly in a warm, soft blanket can help her calm down. Because babies don’t realize that the flailing arms they see are their own, they may become frightened by them. Swaddling reduces anxiety and returns them to a womb-like state.
Go for a Drive
Few things can calm a baby as effectively as a ride in the car. The vibrations and soothing sound can hush even the most persistent wails.
Go for a Stroll
Fresh air and sunshine can help Mom and Baby feel better. Break out the stroller or the baby sling and take a walk around the block.
Use White Noise
A tool used by many parents of inconsolable babies is “white noise.” Any continuous mechanical sound can help calm a baby and put him to sleep. Vacuums, hair dryers, and fans are examples. If you find a noise that works for Baby, make a recording of it for your safety and sanity.
Know When to Surrender
Even the most calm and patient parent can reach her breaking point when dealing with an extremely fussy baby. Knowing your limits will help protect you and your baby. When you find yourself feeling overly frustrated, lay Baby in his crib and close the door. Take a few moments to calm down and remind yourself that this stage will not last forever. If necessary, call a friend, family member, or babysitter for respite.