Consoling a crying baby can sometimes seem impossible, but those moments don’t have to get the best of you. There are many things you can do that will gently soothe your crying baby. To make those moments a little easier, we at SOOJIN have compiled five of the best soothing techniques for you to try when consoling your baby.
For your baby, living in your belly was like living in a miniature bouncy castle. Even when you were sleeping, your baby was never completely still; which is why when your baby came into the world, the lack of movement was quite an unpleasant wake-up call. The motion of gently rocking your baby can be soothing, as it recreates the familiar movement of your belly.
Here are some ways you can restore the rhythm (and harmony) to your little one:
Rock: Rocking is one of the best soothing techniques, and the best part is, you can do it yourself. Hold your baby in your arms, stand with your feet a little more than hip-width apart. Swivel gently back and forth at the hips. If your holding your baby close, your movements will be soothing and calming. Adding skin to skin contact is also helpful. For an alternative to standing, use a rocking chair.
Swing: A baby swing provides a steady, rhythmic movement that helps your baby to relax.
Vibrate: Soothe your baby and do laundry at the same time! When the washer or dryer is running, securely seat your baby in a car seat and place it on top of the running appliance. Be sure to hold down the car seat firmly so the seat stays in place. Do not leave your baby unattended.
When your baby was in your womb, there were many sounds to be heard. Your heartbeat, your stomach gurgling and your blood rushing. So, when your baby enters the world, lying quietly in a nursery can feel unnatural and upsetting.
Here are some sounds that are very soothing for your baby:
Vacuum: The hum of the vacuum cleaner can be music to your baby's ears. Sometimes, babies are calmed by the combination of vibration and noise. Do not run the vacuum for extended periods of time or right next to your baby.
White Noise: White noise machines imitate the sound of a mother's heartbeat. They also block out noises around the house, such as those from siblings, music and television. Make sure it is not too loud and don’t play it for extended periods of time.
3. Contact and Comfort
In the womb, your baby lived in a cozy, warm environment. When your baby entered the world, the environment significantly changed.
Recreate a cozy warm environment to calm your baby down in a heartbeat:
Massage: Pat your baby on the back in a heartbeat-like pattern or rub gently in a circular motion. Gently rub the bottom of your baby’s feet. Acupressure massage is also very beneficial for soothing your baby.
- Kangaroo Care: This technique is soothing for you and your baby. According to the NICU, kangaroo care helps you connect to your baby, reducing feelings of stress and creating a feeling of empowerment. This technique involves skin-to-skin contact. Your baby should be naked except for a diaper and something to cover his or her back. You will sit back in a chair or lay down on your bed and place your baby against your bare chest and snuggle him or her.
- Baby Sling: Hold your baby against you in a baby sling. The baby sling creates a sense of safety, security and warmth for your baby which is very calming. There are many different types of baby slings to choose from. Find the one that works best for you and your baby.
- Clothing: Your baby’s clothing should be loose and comfortable. Make sure your baby’s clothes are not tight or restrictive, especially around the neck, groin, waist, ankles and arm pits.
4. Change of Scenery
A change of scenery can make you feel more relaxed and your baby is the same.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple change of scenery to calm your little one down:
5. Harry Karp and the 5 S's
Take a Drive: The vibration of the tires on the road and the landscaping moving past the car window can be calming and soothing to your baby.
Take a Stroll: The fresh air and vibration of the stroller wheels on the sidewalk will soothe your baby.
Recruit Another Family Member: If you are the primary caretaker of your baby, call on another family member to hold or rock baby for a while. Sometimes the only change of scenery needed is a person.
Pediatrician Harry Karp wrote the book on happy babies. His book "Happiest Baby on the Block" is a national bestseller. His advice is a mix of soothing techniques meant to recreate a womb-like feeling to comfort your crying infant, otherwise known as the 5S's.
Swaddling: Wrap your baby snuggly in a swaddling blanket.
Side/Stomach-Soothing: Lay your baby on his or her side or stomach in your arms or on your lap. This position should not be used for sleeping babies.
Shhh-ing sounds: Make shhh-ing sounds as you comfort your baby.
Swinging: Baby swings provide a steady rhythmic movement that soothes your baby.
Sucking: Feed your baby or give him or her a pacifier. Sucking turns on a baby’s calming response.