New parents don’t need to be told that having a baby is a blessing.
You’ve been planning for this darling little addition to your life for much longer than nine months.
When they arrive, you’re so excited to get to know this brand new human, an example of your love made real.
Of course, having a baby isn’t all sweet-smelling skin and bonding sessions full of lots of eye contact.
A lot of new parents report that having a baby was maybe a little more challenging than they anticipated.
Beyond the diapers you have to change or how quickly a little one can grow, how often your bundle of joy turns into a crying mess can be unexpected.
A fussy newborn is difficult in a number of ways.
It can be hard for a parent to not understand why their little one is crying so much.
And, of course, the constant tears can cause new parents to lose a lot of sleep – up to two hours a night!
If you’re reading this article through bleary eyes or holding your little one to try to calm another round of tears, we’ve got you covered.
Keep reading for a top ten list of ways to soothe a crying baby and get back a little peace of mind.
Does Your Fussy Newborn Have Colic?
Colic, defined by crying more than three hours at a time, affects almost 30% of babies.
Although this condition usually resolves itself around 3-6 months, you don’t have to just grit your teeth and bear it.
You can try the “colic hold” to try to calm your baby down.
Lay him across your forearm belly down.
Hold him close to your skin and rock him back and forth very gently.
When your baby is crying so much, you’ll be glad to have this technique in your repertoire.
Emulate The Womb
Your baby’s rent was up and they were evicted from the coziest place they’ve ever known – mama’s belly.
The womb was cramped but cozy, and no doubt baby misses being back “home”.
Try to recreate the sensation of being bundled up by swaddling your baby tightly – but gently – in a thin blanket.
Place her little arms across her chest for maximum effect.
Swaddling is a proven technique to help babies sleep better for longer periods of time.
Get Up And Get Going
There’s a reason we rock our babies in our arms, in cribs, or in chairs. The gentle motion has a calming effect on them and puts them to sleep.
If your usual standards aren’t doing the trick, it might be time to bust out the big guns.
Strap baby into his stroller and take them on a brisk walk around the block. This is great for the new parent pushing the stroller, too – it helps to get in some exercise.
If that fails, step it up even further with a lengthy car ride.
Skin To Skin Contact Is Calming
Holding an infant wearing nothing more than a diaper and maybe a hat against your bare skin (called Kangaroo Care) is proving to be excellent for newborns, especially preemies.
Not only is it a great opportunity for you to bond with baby, the practice comes with a slew of health benefits.
Oxygen levels rise, temperature evens out, and heart rate stays steady, not to mention the baby sleeps better too.
Enjoy a few moments of calm with your baby with kangaroo care.
Soft Background Noise Can Be Soothing
When the baby is in the womb, they hear more than you would think.
They hear the rush of blood, the gurgle of the stomach, and the thrumming of the heart.
Your baby’s room might be a little too quiet; they need that soft hum of background noise to relax.
Try getting a white noise machine or a ceiling fan to provide a steady – but soft – sound.
If you have neither of those on hand, vacuuming in another room or simply saying “shhh” will still help baby get back to sleep.
Let Them Cry It Out
Sometimes, there’s just nothing you can do, and that’s OK.
While it can be frustrating to hear your fussy newborn wail and not know what to do, at times it’s best to just take a step back and let them cry for a bit.
Being too involved and not letting a baby cry it out is one of the top 10 new parent mistakes.
Try this technique: lay a soft blanket on the floor and place your infant in the center.
There the baby will stay safe and can cry to their heart’s content.
You can be out of the room but stick close by. In fact, this is a great moment to get a little bit of time to yourself.
What Vibe Are You Putting Out?
Have you ever had a friend that’s nervous around babies? It’s more than likely that a baby starts crying when they get handed to this person.
Babies are very sensitive to changes in environment and to people’s moods.
While new parents might snip at each other a bit due to lack of sleep and new life challenges, try to keep it to a minimum – and never in front of the baby.
Babies can sense when those around them are unhappy. Stay calm around baby and they’ll likely respond in kind.
Is It Gas?
A fussy newborn might be upset by that old standby – gas.
There are a few tried and true methods to deal with it.
Lay your baby face down across your knees then gently rub his back.
You can also try laying him on his back and bicycling his legs.
If this is a reoccurring issue it might be time to talk to a doctor about using anti-gas medicine.
Give Them Something Relaxing To Look At
Gentle, soft lights and movement are great to put any fussy newborn at ease.
There are a few things on the market that fill a room with soft lighting and slowly moving shapes.
A star shower of colored light is very relaxing for baby and parent alike.
In fact, an aquarium will do in a pinch.
The low light, soft bubbling sound and pretty fish are beautiful and calming.
Diet Plays A Big Role In Baby Temperament
If you’re nursing, it’s a no-brainer to cut out caffeine and alcohol. Other foods can be irritants for baby too.
Dairy, spicy foods and onions are all common culprits.
If you’re feeding baby formula, it can’t be stressed enough that you need the healthiest options.
American formulas allow sweeteners in their ingredients. European formulas, in contrast, usually have restrictions on which additives are allowed.
Popular European formula brands, like Hipp formula or Holle, come from cows that graze in pastures.
Organic infant formula isn’t difficult to purchase and is a wonderful choice for your baby.
Formuland, shipping from California, is your one-stop shop for finding the best organic baby formula.
New parents have enough to worry about; how to handle a fussy newborn just got crossed off that list!
Try these tips out and tell us which one worked the best for you.