In part #3 of our series on the 5 most asked questions by new moms, we are talking about how to soothe a fussy baby.
Baby is crying. We don’t know why. It might be because they are hungry, scared, have gas, need to be held, all the above, or something completely different, but nonetheless, here we are, and everyone is stressed. Fussiness is part of a baby's development, but it can be a challenge to handle it when you're sleep-deprived and anxious and don’t know what to do. Here are a few things that helped us during that time.
Step 1. Check the basic needs first:
- Dirty diaper – easy fix.
- Hungry – try to feed them. It might take some time for them to stop crying to take the breast/bottle, so stay calm and use soothing words.
- Pain – did they burp it out after the last feeding? Or perhaps a blow-out is on the way?
- Discomfort - a badly positioned or scratchy care label would be enough to irritate a grown-up. Check their clothing. Are they too hot or too cold?
Step 2. To soothe:
- Use gentle motion - babies are used to mom’s movement in the womb, so try to replicate this motion. Gently rocking, carrying them in a baby carrier, or using a baby swing or bouncy seat.
- Create a calm environment - Turn off the TV or other noises and dim the lights to create a soothing atmosphere. Play calming music or white noise.
- Try a pacifier – This one worked well for 2 of my own babies and not so much for 1. For the 2 that it worked, it was like an off button. They immediately relaxed.
- Practice skin-to-skin contact - Holding your baby against your chest with no clothing between you can help regulate their body temperature and provide a sense of security.
- Baby massage: Use gentle, circular motions on their back, legs, and arms.
- A warm bath – both soothing and distracting. We love the Puj Tub for this. Baby is at the right height to make it easier on your back, you don’t have to hold them AND try to wash them while adjusting the water temperature. The warmth of the water is soothing and helps relax their muscles. Even the sound of the water is calming. Be sure to support your baby's head and neck and never leave them unattended in the water. When you remove them from the bath, have a warm, cozy towel at the ready. We love these 2 towels: Bebe au Lait and Puj
Soothing a fussy baby can be challenging both mentally and physically, but with some patience and trying a few of these things, you will find what works for your little one. Try to remember this is just a phase, take care of yourself, and take all the help you can get. Parenting is a team effort, so be sure to share the responsibilities. Friends and extended family are also an option to give you a break for a short while. Be sure to talk to your baby’s doctor if your soothing efforts are not working.