15 Tips to Calm a Fussy Baby - A Parent's Guide
It's only natural for babies to cry. It is their way to express their need for milk, new diaper, or comforting. Your instinct as parents tells you to pacify your crying baby, but admit it or not, it can be a challenge sometimes to calm them down. You may notice that your baby may seem to be fuzzier and cry more often during their second and third week, especially during the late afternoon and early evenings. Don't worry, this is quite common, and there are things you can do to avoid or lessen your little one's fussiness.
Let's go over the ways to prevent irritability and how to soothe a fussy baby.
How to Calm a Fussy Baby
1. Feed your baby based on hunger cues.
Hunger is the most common reason why babies cry. It is essential to know that your baby needs to be fed every 2 to 3 hours, so that serves as your first guide. Before they wail and cry for milk, they show some signs of hunger. It is advisable to feed the baby when he/she starts to look for the nipple and make sucking motions, lick his/her lips, and place fingers into the mouth. These are the early cues of hunger.
It is important to ensure that you don't overfeed your baby to avoid stomach troubles.
2. Change the diapers regularly
Wearing wet and soiled diapers are very uncomfortable and unhygienic. Ensure to change your baby's dirty diapers to avoid diaper rashes and discomfort.
3. Don't forget to burp your baby
Burping your baby in between feedings is necessary to remove excess air that is trapped in your baby's tummy. If you skip burping your baby, your baby may experience discomfort and gas pain, which leads to fussiness.
4. Check for discomfort and irritation
Even the slightest discomfort may cause your baby's fussiness. Check your baby for any signs of irritations from clothes' tag, buttons, hanging thread, or diaper rash. Address the source of irritation immediately.
5. Keep a comfortable room temperature
It is best to keep your baby's nursery at 20 to 24 degrees celsius to ensure that your baby does not feel too cold or too warm. Keeping the room temperature right can keep your baby feeling comfortable and can help decrease the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
6. Swaddle your baby
Swaddling your baby helps in recreating the warmth and coziness of the womb. If you will wrap your baby, it is vital to take note of the following to ensure the baby's safety and comfort.
- Swaddle your baby correctly. You may watch this video from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute to guide you on how to swaddle your baby, or you may consult your kraamverzorgster.
- Always let your baby sleep on his/her back.
- Keep the swaddle on the hips loose to avoid hips dysplasia
- Stop swaddling on baby's 2nd month or as soon as the baby starts to roll.
- Only swaddle before sleeping or when the baby is fussy.
7. Give your baby a massage
Infant massage can be a daily bonding experience for you and your baby. Baby massage can help your baby sleep better, help neurological development, help blood circulation, and even help ease constipation and colic.
Here are the steps to massage your baby
1. Use baby oil and warm it on your palm. Always check first for any allergic reaction before using the oil on the baby's body.
2. Start massaging the soles of the feet of your baby in a gentle circular motion.
3. Move on to the calves and stroke using a milking motion.
4. Use the milking motion to massage the arms too.
5. Massage your baby's tummy and chest from the center going towards the shoulder.
6. Massage the tummy in a clockwise circular may help with your baby's digestion.
7. Gently massage your baby's face.
8. Using your fingers, massage your baby's head in a circular motion.
9. Lay your baby on his/her tummy, gently stroke your baby's back from the center outwards.
8. Carry your baby on his/her side
Try holding your baby while he/she is on her side or over your shoulder. Lying on the side and being close to their caregiver gives baby comfort and security.
9. Wear Your Baby in a Carrier
Being in a comfortable baby sling can help your baby feel calm. Being in the sling enables your baby to be close to your chest to hear your heartbeat, smell your scent, and be gently rocked as you walk. Your baby is also turned away from overstimulation, which can cause distress.
If you choose to wear your baby in a sling, ensure that he/she is in a comfortable position and is not to warm in it.
10. Turn on white noise
While your baby was in his/her mother's womb, he/she has been accustomed to hear the different sounds constantly. Because of this, a quiet room may feel like a different world to them and so putting on white noise can help soothe them. You can try turning on the vacuum, television with no channel on, or the fan.
11. Hum or Sing a Song
Music is a beautiful addition to your baby's nighttime routine. It promotes peaceful sleep, ensuring your little one is well-rested. Singing a song or humming to your baby can help slow down the heartbeat and help your baby calm down too. It is a great bonding activity together also!
12. Give your baby a warm bath
Giving your baby warm water is a great soothing experience for your little bub. A warm bath coupled with gentle strokes across his/her body can help calm down and promote good sleep.
13. Give your baby a change of environment
Sometimes moving out of the nursery and going to the kitchen or living room can help calm down your baby. It would be nice to step outside for fresh air and a new view for the baby.
You can carry the baby on your arms, pop your baby in a carrier, or put him/her in a stroller.
14. Takedown all distractions stimulations
Your baby may feel fussy when overstimulated or tired. You can dim down the lights, turn the volume of the television, remove any baby toys from the cot, and lay the baby on his/her crib.
15. Try the colic carry
The baby may feel tummy pain from gas and colic. You may try laying your baby on your forearm with her belly down. Ensure to support her head with your hand and use your other hand to gently stroke her back.
If you are still unable to calm your baby even after doing the tips above and your still baby cries for more than three hours regularly, your baby might have colic. It is best to consult with your pediatrician so you can get expert advice if there is a need to change formula milk, change in breastfeeding mom's diet, or need medication.
We would love to hear your thoughts and experience on soothing your little one. Which tip would you recommend to other parents? Feel free to write your comment in the box below.
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