Those first few weeks and months home with your newborn can be pure bliss . . . but they can also be extremely stressful if you happen to have a fussy baby! And, unfortunately, if you’re unable to soothe your baby, stress levels can rise rather quickly. Don’t fret! These tips and tricks for soothing a newborn may be exactly what you need to bring the calm joy back into your life.
- Know when to walk away: This is the very first tip and trick for a reason! If you are overly stressed, baby becomes more stressed. Thus starts a vicious cycle that can turn even the most patient of parents into a blubbering or angry mess. If you feel that you just can’t keep yourself calm, if you start feeling excessive tension in your shoulders or back, or anywhere else in your body, put the baby down, walk away, and step outside or into another room. Calm yourself down so that you can effectively go back to calming your baby down. Most parents can manage to do this within just a few minutes, but those few minutes can make all the difference.
- Check all the obvious: Diaper changes, feedings (sometimes even just for soothing purposes), overheated or cold or restriction of clothing, and burping are some obvious tricks you should go through first. It may sound silly to mention it, but when you’re sleep deprived, you can forget almost anything!
- Use the 5 S’s: Swaddling, Side/Stomach position, Swinging, Shushing, Sucking. This method has worked with even some of the fussiest of babies!
- Try using white noise: A fan, a dryer, a recording of waves on the beach . . . whatever you choose to use, some babies do really well when they’re given a bit of white noise to sleep or when they’re fussy.
- Learn to identify and remedy gas: A gassy baby will behave much differently than just a fussy baby. The screams could come on suddenly, or you may notice baby pulling their knees up against their stomachs. If you suspect gas, you can place baby on his tummy on your lap and rub his back gently, lay him down and move his legs in a bicycle motion, lay baby on your forearm (face-out while supporting the head) and sway, or talk to your doctor about using infant gas drops.
- Change your scenery: Sometimes the change of scenery will help you which, in turn, will help baby. Sometimes, it’s just the change of noise, light, or view. Whatever the reason, a change of view may be all you and baby need to bring back the quiet and calm.
- Hand-off: For some strange reason, dads can sometimes soothe when moms can’t! If you need a break, or you just can’t seem to calm your baby, give dad or a friend a shot.
- Go for a ride: Whether it’s strapping baby into the stroller and going around the block, or buckling him/her into a car seat and taking a drive, there are many babies that calm almost instantly as soon as they’re moving in a car or stroller. If you can’t do either of these, try placing baby in a swing. (NOTE: DO NOT LEAVE BABY UNATTENDED IN A SWING!)
- Snuggle up: Whether it’s putting on a sling or placing baby naked against your skin, a little touch may be all your baby needs!
- Singing or talking: Babies love the sound of their parent’s voices! Sing a soft and low tune, or start talking about anything in a soft, low tone. You might notice your baby will start to calm down, and before you know it, they could be listening intently to the sound of your voice.