Hearing your crying baby for the first time after delivery is an exciting experience! It’s a sign that they are okay and you can breathe a big sigh of relief. However, shortly after you’ve brought your newborn baby home, the excitement could quickly turn into confusion and frustration.
You’ll soon learn that babies can cry a lot more than you ever imagined! Sometimes, the reason is obvious. The baby is hungry, needs a diaper change, or is tired. Other times, figuring out why your baby is crying can be extremely upsetting. Understanding why your baby may be crying and learning how to soothe a crying baby is very important, because you never want to get too frustrated with your baby.
No single method is going to work for all babies because they all have individual personalities and like or dislike certain things. So don’t get upset if you try a technique and it doesn’t work. After trying out some of the following techniques, you will soon form a set of techniques that works for you and your baby.
Rule Out The Obvious
- First things first, you should rule out all of the obvious things that could be causing your baby to cry before you start trying techniques to calm your baby.
- Make sure that it’s not close to your baby’s feeding time and that when you do feed your baby you are giving them an adequate amount that satisfies them.
- Make sure that your baby does not need a diaper change and that his clothes are not wet.
- Make sure your baby is not too warm or too cold. Avoid hot, tight, or confining clothes.
- Consider that your baby may be too tired or over stimulated, in which case you should try dimming the lights and turning down the televisions.
- Consider that you baby’s crying may be due to colic. See: Colic: The Basics and Colic: How To Cope
- Consider that your baby may be in pain or irritated by something. Make sure nothing is irritating them, such as an itchy tag on their clothing or even something like diaper rash. Also, consider they may have gas or are constipated (see next module for tips to prevent and treat gas and constipation).
Is Your Baby In Pain? Due to Gas and Colic?
Sometimes, babies are crying because they are in pain from gas or they are constipated. If you suspect your baby’s crying is due to pain from gas or constipation, try these tips to prevent and treat the pain.
To treat gas pains, you can:
- Lay your baby across your knees and gently rub their back.
- Move your baby’s legs in a bicycle motion while they are laying on their back.
To prevent gas pains, you can:
- Burp your baby well after every feeding. Sometimes, it can take several minutes before you get a burp, so you have to be patient. Not burping your baby after each feeding can almost guarantee gas later.
- If your baby seems to get gas a lot or is hard to burp after feedings, try giving them some infant gas drops after every feeding. They are safe to give after every feeding, however, you may want to consult your baby’s pediatrician first just to be sure that gas drops are right for your baby.
- Choose the right bottle to prevent gas and colic. Bottles is one of the most important items you will be using with your new addition. Of course, a BPA free baby bottle is best, with some people preferring plastic BPA free bottles and others preferring to use glass bottles. To prevent colic and gasiness you want to think about the venting of the bottle and consider using a nipple which may prevent or reduce these problems.
To treat constipation, you can:
- Lay your baby on their back and give them a gentle tummy massage or give them some tummy time. This can sometimes help a baby’s bowels move.
- Give them some Karo Syrup at their next feeding, 1/2 a teaspoon per 2oz. of formula. This will help them have a bowel movement. I personally only give my son Karo Syrup when he seems constipated and hasn’t had a bowel movement in a while. I never give it to him every feeding, or even everyday. However, you should consult your pediatrician about this, as only they know what is right for your baby.
- Lube up an infant anal thermometer with some petroleum jelly and gently slide it in their rectum as if you were checking their temperature. This will almost always cause a bowel movement.
To prevent constipation, you can:
- Breastfeed if possible. Breastfed babies almost never get constipated, as breast milk is easier to digest and has the perfect balance of everything your baby needs.
- Try switching formulas. Often times, it’s as simple as switching the brand of formula you feed your baby. If that doesn’t seem to work, you could try soy formula.
Sometimes, babies can be soothed with motion. You see, babies spend their first several months in the womb, where even when the mother is asleep her body is still moving. Therefore, when a baby enters the world, lying quietly in a crib or bassinet may seem very unfamiliar and uncomfortable.
1. Try Rocking Your Baby
Simply place your baby in your arms, stand with your feet a little more than hip-width apart, and swivel back and forth at the hips.
Don’t worry about rocking them gently so as to not disturb them, your movement can be fairly vigorous as long as you’re holding your baby close and carefully. If you get tired, you can also use a rocking chair to rock your baby or you could opt to buy some kind of baby rocker.
2. Try A Baby Swing
A baby swing offers a soothing and rhythmic motion that could help calm a baby down. Just always make sure the swing is designed for the size of your baby. Littler babies, such as preemies or newborns, may slump over in some swings that are designed for babies at least a few months of age.
3. Try Vibrations
he vibrations of a washing machine or dryer have worked to calm babies down for many years now. Simply place your baby in a car seat/infant carrier, put it on top of a washer or dryer, and hold on to it firmly so the seat stays in place.
Never just leave a baby on top of the appliance unattended, as the vibrations or movement of the baby could cause the seat to fall off and injure the baby. A more modern way to soothe your baby with vibrations would be to use a bouncer or other device that has a vibrating feature.
4. Try Taking A Walk Or Car Ride
According to these guys, the smooth and consistent motion of a car or stroller ride, along with the snug comfort of a car seat or stroller can put many fussy babies to sleep! I would also recommend a car seat or stroller cover or insert that is almost like a body fitting pillow to help them feel secure.