A crying baby can be an enigma wrapped up in a swaddling blanket. Sometimes, you know exactly how to soothe your baby, other times it's a guessing game. But when your baby is crying inconsolably at 3 am, you don't have time to guess. You just need to take action. The question is what action you should take. While not all babies are the same, we at SOOJIN know some of the best actions to take to when your baby is fussy. Here are a few tips to calm your little fusspot.
- Baby Needs Rhythm
For baby, living in mama’s belly is like living in their own miniature bouncy castle. Even when mama's sleeping, she's never completely still; which is why when a baby comes into the world, the lack of movement can be quite an unpleasant wake-up call. The motion of gently rocking a baby can soothe them as it recreates the familiar movement of mama’s belly. Here are some ways you can restore the rhythm (and harmony) to your little one.
- Rock Your Baby: It may sound like an old pop song, but it's actually one of the best soothing techniques, and the best part is, you can do it yourself. Hold baby in your arms, stand with your feet a little more than a hips-width apart (mind your balance!). Swivel gently back and forth at the hips. As long as your holding your baby close, your movements can be soothing and calming. Adding skin to skin contact will help too! When you get tired, a rocking chair can be indispensable. For an alternative method, a rocking chair can help tired mama soothe baby.
- Baby Swing: Sometimes, the baby just needs to get in the swing. Never underestimate the power of motion when it comes to keeping baby calm. Baby swings provide a steady, rhythmic movement that helps babies to relax.
- Good Vibrations: Don't hesitate to resort to household appliances. You can soothe your baby and do your laundry at the same time! Securely seat the baby in a car seat and place it on top of the washer or drier appliance. Hold down the car seat firmly so the seat stays in place.
- Baby Needs to Hear It
When mama's heart beats, the baby hears it. When mama's stomach gurgles, the baby hears it. When mama's blood rushes, the baby hears it. So, when baby enters the world it, lying quietly in a nursery can be a little, well, unnaturally silent. When baby is welcomed to the world, laying in the quiet nursery can sound unnatural and upsetting. If baby needs to hear it, these are some ways of turning up the volume, but not too loudly.
- Vacuum: Again, appliances to the rescue! The drone of the vacuum cleaner can be music to your baby's ears. Sometimes, kids are calmed by the jarring combination of vibration and noise.
- White Noise Machine: Another appliance that you might want to consider bringing into your household is a white noise machine. White noise machines imitate the sound of a mother's heartbeat, and they also can help block out noises around the house, such as those from siblings, music, and television.
- Harry Karp and the 5S's
Pediatrician Harry Karp wrote the book on happy babies. (Really: his book "Happiest Baby on the Block" is a national bestseller). His advice is a mix of soothing techniques meant to recreate a womblike feeling to comfort your crying infant, otherwise known as the 5S's. When your baby is particularly fussy, take a page from his book.
- Swaddling: Wrapping baby snuggly
- Side/Stomach-Soothing: Lay your baby on her side or stomach, but don't leave her unattended.
- Shhh-ing sounds
- Swinging: See above for info on baby swings.
- Sucking: Feed her or give her a pacifier.
- Baby Needs Contact and Comfort
Sometimes, it just takes a mama's touch. When your baby enters the world, she's used to a cozy, warm environment. Recreate that environment and she'll calm down in a heartbeat.
- Kangaroo Care: Not only a soothing technique for your baby: according to the NICU, kangaroo care helps mama connect to her baby, melting away feelings of stress and creating a feeling of empowerment. Undress your baby and yourself, lie down and lay baby on top of you. Cover both you your little one with a blanket.
- When You Don't Know What Baby Needs
Otherwise known as –when all else fails. When you've swaddled, side soothed, shushed, swung and gave baby something to suck on, here are a final few attempts to help calm baby.
- Go outside: Sometimes, a change of scenery can help.
- Check the baby's clothes: Clothes that are too tight, too constraining, or too warm can cause an eruption of tears.
- Give the baby a massage: Pat baby on the back in a heartbeat-like pattern or rub gently in circular motions until baby relaxes.