All babies cry. It’s how they tell you what they want. But, sometimes, their cries are relentless. When you’re exhausted, a crying, inconsolable baby can make you feel terrible, wreak havoc on your patience and increases anxiety. These 5 methods on how to soothe a crying baby are a complete lifesaver, but they do take practice!
There are a few things to keep in mind when using these techniques. First, if your baby is hungry, these techniques will only work temporarily. Second, these techniques are mainly for when babies are just fussy. For example, infants (typically newborns) have a period where they may be fussier than normal. This is referred to as the ‘witching hour’, and to be completely transparent, this can last way longer than an hour. The witching hour is exactly what these methods are meant for. These methods are also good to use when it comes to putting your baby to sleep at night.
So, what are they?!
Look at ultrasounds- what do you notice? Babies are curled up, snug in the womb. By using a swaddle, you recreate that nice, cozy feeling that babies are used to. If you feel like your baby hates to be swaddled, it may be the type of swaddle or how your baby is swaddled. Some kids like their arms down, some like one arm out or both. From personal experience, all of our kids had to have their arms down. Their startle reflexes caused them to smack themselves in the face, thus waking them up.
Side or Stomach Position
Hold your baby out and try to lay them on their back. Did you notice your baby flinch? Again, this is the result of the startle reflex. They think they are being dropped, so they react- which can make them wake up and/or cry. Now, back is best when it comes to sleep, but if you are keeping an eye on your baby, you can lay them on their side or stomach. You can also hold your baby on their side or stomach, or lay them on your chest. These are are known as Reverse breastfeeding, Football, and Over-the-shoulder hold.
*The side sleeper pictured is not to be used unattended*
The womb wasn’t quiet, so the outside world doesn’t need to be, either. A shushing sound, whether you make the noise with your mouth, or use a white noise machine can actually be soothing for an infant. Keep the noise constant, though, because loud sounds can startle the baby. It’s also important that the noises are just loud enough to drown out any extra noises, as well.
The womb wasn’t quiet, and it wasn’t still, either. may have seen the video of the doctor placing the infant in his forearm, and gently shaking the babies butt. You can try this method or you can walk around gently bouncing your baby. If you are unable to hold your baby, you can also use a rocker or swing to calm your baby.
Want to try the aforementioned technique? Here’s how:
- Pick up the baby and fold his arms snuggly across his chest.
- Secure the baby’s arms with your hand after they are folded. That hand also supports the baby’s chin.
- Gently hold the baby’s bottom with your dominant hand. Use the fleshy part of your hand (not your fingers) to ensure a secure hold.
- Position the baby at a 45-degree angle and gently rock him. The motion can be up and down, or you can try shaking the baby’s bottom. The key is to make the sequence smooth and avoid jerky movements. The angle is important because it helps you keep control of your baby.
While it is ‘best practice’ to hold off on using a pacifier until breastmilk is established, the concept of nipple confusion is supposed to be a myth. The point of using a pacifier is to pacify, not to delay feeding. So, as long as the baby is full, there is no reason why you shouldn’t use a pacifier (or finger, if a pacifier isn’t readily available). Plus, if a baby is hungry, a pacifier won’t keep them calm for long, anyways.
Do you have any other tips for calming a crying or fussy baby? Do these tips work for you and your baby?
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