Little babies know only one language – crying.
Whether they are hungry, sleepy, have a wet diaper, or anything else, the only way they can communicate is through crying. However, soothing a crying baby can be a challenge for mums as they try to figure out what could be bothering their little ones. It can sometimes be frustrating and even stressful when the baby does not seem to be able to calm down.
When this happens, it helps to keep calm yourself and then try to soothe the baby. You can use the below tips to calm down the little one when the crying does not seem to stop!
1. Change the diaper!
A dirty diaper seems like an obvious problem. However, many times, new mums do not notice that a wet and dirty diaper could be causing discomfort to the baby. Yes, sometimes, the simple reason behind all the crying could just be that they are feeling wet.
2. Make sure the baby is well-fed.
Crying can be a late sign of hunger. Some babies tend to get a little cranky when hungry and then go into a full-blown crying mode when they are not fed. Babies don’t always stick to a feeding schedule and might want to feed more frequently and longer, especially when they have their growth spurts.
Try offering the breast or the bottle (depending on how you choose to feed). A hungry baby might quickly calm down once they start feeding.
3. Use the tiger-on-the-tree hold for the baby.
Little babies can have colic, or they might just feel a little uncomfortable after a feed. The tiger-on-the-tree hold can work wonders. Just hold the baby stomach down across your arm such that the tummy lies against your palm and the head nestles near the crook of your arm. The heel of your palm should gently press against the baby’s stomach. In this position, use your other hand to support and gently stroke the baby’s back. This is similar to tummy time, but just in your arms!
4. Make sure the baby isn’t feeling too hot or too cold.
Babies cannot regulate the body temperature as well as grown-ups. They also cannot put on a jacket or take off the blanket. Ideally, you should dress your baby in one extra layer of clothing compared to what you are wearing. But if the baby is cranky, see if removing the extra layer helps to soothe her.
5. Let the baby suckle.
The action of sucking can help soothe the baby. If you breastfeed, letting the baby latch on or suckle can help her calm down instantly. Some mummies prefer a pacifier when they are not breastfeeding. If you are open to using a pacifier, it can help the baby suckle and calm down.
6. Give the baby some skin-to-skin contact.
Skin-to-skin contact can give a baby the much-needed warmth to help them feel comfortable and safe. It can also help build the bond between the baby and the mum (or the dad). Hold the baby in just a diaper against your skin. If it’s too cold, you can put a blanket over the baby to keep them warm.
7. Whisper “Shhh…” in near their ear.
Shushing sounds can be calming for the baby. While you rock and carry a crying baby, whisper “Shhh…” in a constant tone to help the baby calm down.
8. Use some white noise.
Similar to the shushing sounds, white noise can help soothe a crying baby. You can use a white noise machine to generate soothing sounds. Alternatively, you can also use one of the several mobile apps available that generate white noise.
9. Give them a massage and a bath.
A calming massage followed by a warm bath can be very effective in soothing a crying baby. If your baby does not like massages (some babies don’t), skip the massage and give them a warm bath. The water can do wonders at calming the baby.
10. Give the baby a walk.
Being in motion can also help a crying baby to calm down. Walk around carrying the baby in your arms and see if this does the trick! Hold the baby securely and let her enjoy being carried around. You can also wear the baby in a sling as you go around the house. The movement can help the baby stop crying.
11. Take them for a ride in the car.
Just as a walk can be soothing, a car ride can be, too. If your baby feels comfortable in a car seat, buckle the baby in and take her for a ride. The motion can soothe and even put the baby to sleep. Of course, this is not recommended for infants. However, if your baby is old enough to sit in the car seat and likes it, this can work well.
12. Try dimming the lights.
As grown-ups, we sometimes don’t realise how uncomfortably bright the lighting can be. Are the lights bothering your little one? Dim the lights and see if the baby feels better. Dimming the lights can also help the baby sleep better.
When it comes to a crying baby, it all comes down to guesswork and trying different tips and tricks to calm down the baby. As a mum, if you are the primary caretaker, it can sometimes be overwhelming when no matter what you do, the baby does not seem to stop crying! When this happens, give yourself a break and let someone else handle the baby.
Usually, babies calm down after you follow one or some of the above tips. But, if you are not able to soothe the baby, no matter what, you should check with her doctor to understand if there is a medical issue.
Also, understand that babies do cry – sometimes without an apparent reason, too!
Be patient with the baby and be kind to yourself. You got this.