Baby is fed, his diaper is changed, but s/he’s still crying! While it's important to remember that sometimes babies cry because that's what babies do, there are soothing methods we can try. Here are our Top 10:
1) White noise: Make some noise…white noise that is! The rhythmic monotonous whooshing sound reminds baby of what she heard in the womb- it can lull her into sleep and even help her stay asleep. You don't have to spring for a machine, try a white noise app on your smartphone. Even the sound of a fan or a humidifier will work. Due to recent studies, make sure the noise is not too loud. See this great article in Science News for more information.
2) Exercise ball: Hold baby in either a cradle hold or up on your chest, sit on an exercise ball and gently bounce. Rhythmic motion is soothing to baby.
3) Baby-wearing: Babies, especially newborns love to be held constantly. However, many parents worry that they won’t ever be able to use their hands again! Try a baby carrier or sling- to keep baby close while leaving your hands free. We promise you won't spoil baby - spoiling a baby is impossible, you're just following baby's natural need to be close to another human when you wear baby.
4) Swaddling: Babies like to be tightly swaddled because it reminds them of being snug inside the womb. If you want to learn to swaddle like a pro, watch our step-by-step demonstration YouTube.
5) Skin to skin contact: In the NICU this technique called “Kangaroo care” and is employed not only calm babies, but to help them grow and develop. Get your baby down to her diaper, open your own shirt and snuggle in close and get as much “skin to skin” contact as possible. It calms, reassures, and is great for bonding.
6) Take a bath with baby.Taking a bath with baby can be a relaxing experience for both baby and mom. First, test the temperature of the water to be sure it's not too hot. Then get in the tub and have baby lay chest to chest with you. Gently hold him and relax. This is also a wonderful opportunity for mothers to breastfeed, if baby would like to.
7) Try the “colic hold.” The “colic hold” has been known to soothe many fussy babies. Lay baby face down on your forearm and gently rock him back and forth. Pressure on baby’s tummy is soothing and may help relieve gas.
8) Massage. Massage can be a useful tool in calming your baby. Lay your little one on her back on a changing table or other flat surface. Gently massage the top and sides of her head, the face and jaw muscles, then the arms, tummy and legs.
9) Calm your heart rate. As nerve-wracking as the crying can be, try to take some slow deep breaths with baby up against you. Focus on slowing your heart rate. Often, baby will follow suit.
10) Turn down stimuli. Too much stimuli is frequently stressful for babies. It’s easy for parents to overlook the daily barrage of lights and sounds we’re all accustomed to. Your newborn baby was in darkness for nine months; his nervous system is still immature and all these new stimuli can be overwhelming. Trying turning off the TV and dimming the lights. Sometimes, bringing baby to his dark, quiet nursery will also help him relax.
It's important to remember that sometimes babies just cry. They just do no matter what you try. If baby is not hungry and not injured or in need of medical attention and you feel like you might be reaching a breaking point while baby is crying, it is okay to place baby in a safe place like the crib and walk away for a few minutes. Are there other soothing techniques we missed here? Let us know here!