Crying is your baby’s way of communicating their needs. A crying baby can be difficult to deal with, we know all about it! Sometimes you will be able to quickly identify the source of your wee one’s discomfort. But there will be times when it will feel like nothing will make the crying stop.
In order to successfully soothe a crying baby it is important to learn how to recognise the cues and cries. This will allow you to put in place the most effective approach but remember that sometimes a baby will fight the soothing and you mustn’t feel disheartened by this.
Your baby could be crying because of hunger, thirst or needs a fresh nappy. If this is the case it should be as easy as feeding or changing a nappy. But it is not always as simple as this. Sometimes your baby will cry without an apparent reason. If you are having trouble with a crying wee one, here is a list with 7 ways to soothe a crying baby from real first-time parents with a grumpy baby!
Gentle Baby Rocking
This is my go-to move when I am unsure of why my baby is crying. You can rock your baby up and down, back and forth, side to side or do a little dance. My little chicken prefers when I stand and rock him. He is a big boy and I struggle to carry him long periods of time, so I find it easiest to sit at the end of the bed and bounce up and down. This can also be done sitting on your birthing ball if you have one. A rocking chair is on my wish list!
Sucking is a natural instinct for babies, sometimes they just need to suckle for comfort. If you are breastfeeding, offer the breast whenever the baby needs it. If you are formula feeding instead, you can give them a pacifier or a clean finger. You might find that your baby starts to suck on his favourite toy or muslin when he needs to settle. You can also help them find their hand or thumb if you prefer.
Give Them A Warm Bath
Not all babies love bath time. But if your baby enjoys their baths you can give them one to help soothe their crying. Turn down the light and any noise that can distract them such as the television. You could also give them a massage after.
White Noise And Music
A constant and rhythmical noise can help as it will remind your wee one of when he was in your womb. There are many YouTube white noise playlists with sounds of hair dryers, engines, fan noise or hoovers. Or my husband’s favourite, train white noise video.
If you don’t have YouTube to hand you can switch on the hoover at home or stand near the extractor fan with your wee one. Another option is to make the noise by humming or making shooing sounds. Being able to hear your voice is an added bonus!
Doing Baby Bicycle Legs
Babies can have trouble with wind which can be very uncomfortable and will make them fuss. If you suspect trapped wind is the cause of your baby’s crying you can help by moving their legs in a circular motion, as if riding a bicycle. You can also rub the tummy in clockwise circles around the belly button.
In my 4 Reasons We Love Our Stretchy Wrap post I talked about the importance of babywearing. When you wear your baby they can feel and hear your body. Your rhythmic heartbeat and your breathing will help them regulate their own and will help soothe your baby.
This will be even more effective if you do skin on skin. Strip your baby down to the nappy and take off your top layers. Place your baby in your choice of carrier with your bare skin directly against theirs. Your body will keep them warm and soon they should be able to relax and fall asleep.
Keep Up The Movement
Walk around the house with your baby in your arms. The movement and the change of scenery can calm them. I walk back and forth between the living room and our bedroom until my little boy stops crying.
If you are able to go outside take your baby out for a walk in the pram or for a car drive. The movement will soothe babies almost instantly. Also, the fresh air will help both of you stay calm.
Keep Calm And Ask For A Hand
If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help. A partner, friend or family member can look after your baby while you step away and take a moment to breathe. If no one is around to help, leave your baby somewhere safe like the cot or pram and step away for a moment. Go into another room and just give yourself a wee break.
Under no circumstance should you ever shake your baby to make them stop crying. This could cause severe brain damage.
You can also seek help from Cry-sis, a UK charity that offers help and support to parents with babies who cry excessively. They have a helpline available 7 days a week.
Taking care of a baby can be exhausting, so don’t forget to look after yourself too.