how to soothe a crying baby
try these ideas to calm your unhappy baby
There are times when your baby is just so unhappy that all you can do is try to soothe and calm them down. all babies have bad patches and there is not necessarily anything to panic about. in fact the intense crying might be just what is needed to get a gas bubble to shift or mucus in the chest to move!
but if symptoms are ongoing, you will need to address the underlying cause. most times, this is a digestive issue (gas and wind) but could be illness, muscle spasm or spinal fault, etc..
hold on - lots of love needed!
it may be that the only thing you can do to help sooth your baby, is hold on to them for hours and hours. if that is your situation, then so be it. put everything else on hold and give them lots of love. remember that soothing is great in the short term but you will probably need to do more to tackle the actual causes.
10 tips to soothe your crying baby
1. swaddle her
to you, swaddling might feel like being in a straightjacket. but to a crying, fussy baby, it’s like being back in the womb. how tight do you wrap this baby burrito? snug enough so she can’t wriggle her arms and legs free. this is more likely to be effective in the first month. (swaddling may in fact, cause frustration for babies as they get older and want more freedom!)
2. shift positions
parents tend to cradle a colicky baby face-up, but that may not help. instead, hold her face down - with your hand under her belly and her head on your forearm. the pressure on her tummy can help relieve uncomfortable gas. see more on the learning center.
3. turn on white noise
a little white noise can help your baby feel like he’s back in the womb. there was a lot of whooshing and background noise in there. to re-create these soothing sounds, turn on a fan, put the bassinet near the dishwasher, run the vacuum, or play our collection of white noise and soothing sounds. you want a constant, low-level sound.
4. pacify her
infants have a strong sucking instinct, so a pacifier can calm your colicky baby. bonus: studies show pacifiers may help prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
5. shh! her
make this sound right in your colicky baby’s ear. don’t be timid. make the 'shh' sound loudly enough so that your baby can hear you over her own racket.
6. take a ride
babies in the womb get used to a lot of motion. get your baby moving and he may go right to sleep. put him in a swing. cradle him in a rocking chair. lay him in a vibrating infant seat. you might even set out for a drive in the car, but don’t hit the road if you’re too tired.
7. baby massage
the soothing power of your own touch can work wonders on a colicky baby. many babies love skin-to-skin contact. and studies show infants who are massaged seem to cry less and sleep better. just undress your baby and use slow, firm strokes over her legs, arms, back, chest, and face. it may calm you down as well. for a gassy baby, rub his tummy in a clockwise motion, or bicycle his little legs to relieve some pressure.
8. wear your baby
in many cultures, infants spend much of the day in slings on their mothers' backs or chests. when you put a colicky baby in a sling or carrier, he can snuggle close and - with luck - may be lulled to sleep by your movement. slings can also give your aching arms a rest and leave you free to get on with other stuff!
9. give her a burp
a crying baby can gulp down a lot of air. that can make her gassy and bloated - and make her crying worse. take her through the 6 burping exercises several times a day when the opportunity presents itself. see if you can release the air that's making her feel uncomfortable.
10. take a breather
night after night with a colicky baby is hard on parents. it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and not up to the job. if nothing seems to work, take a break. hand the baby off to your partner, a family member, friend, or sitter. when that’s not an option, remember that it’s OK to let your baby cry in the crib for a little bit while you collect yourself.
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