Soothing a Fussy Baby
Your baby is fussing. Your heart breaks to see this little one so unhappy. What can you do to soothe your fussy baby?
- Determine if anything is wrong. Is baby too hot/too cold? Is his/her diaper wet or dirty? Is s/he hungry? Does s/he need to be burped? Is s/he ill? If something is wrong, correct the problem.
- If baby is still fussy, then baby may need a nap. Or s/he may just need to be calmed down after feeling stressed. Try putting him/her down for a nap in a darkened, quiet room or a darkened room with relaxing music playing quietly. Some babies prefer “white noise” to silence or soft music: white noise can be the sound of an oscillating fan, your clothes dryer, or other appliance. If sleep does not come fairly quickly, lightly stroke baby’s head and temples. Oh, and don’t forget the pacifier and blanket.
- If napping is not working, try rocking and singing to baby. Lullabies or melodic songs typically work best. Rub baby’s back. Speak softly to baby: speak words of comfort. (Note: some babies prefer being held while you walk to being rocked . . . and many babies like it if you hold them while you slow dance.)
- Swaddle baby (the snug feeling reminiscent of being in the womb can be calming for babies) or undress baby and lay him/her next to your bare skin (some babies are comforted by the direct skin contact).
- Vibration can be a source of comfort for many babies. Vibrating baby chairs, rockers, and carriers can work wonders for soothing a fussy baby.
- Go for a walk with baby in the stroller.
- Put baby in the baby swing.
- Go for a ride in the car. This is an almost instant sleep-inducer for many babies.
- Create a distraction. Is there a puppy that can attract baby’s attention? Is baby fascinated by looking in a mirror?
- Give baby a warm bath.
- If all these tips have failed, try putting baby in the crib and walking away. Perhaps your attempts to soothe baby have helped keep him/her over-stimulated. (Note: peek in on baby frequently, but do not further distract him/her.)
- If all else fails, take baby to the doctor. Perhaps there is an underlying medical concern that needs to be addressed.
By following these tips, you should be able to soothe your fussy baby. It is a trial-and-error process, and it often takes longer than both you and baby would like it to, but both you and baby can have a calming resolution. Take heart, these fussy periods won’t last forever.
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