Categorized | Parenting Tips

Soothing your crying baby

If you are a parent, you have been there. Your darling sleeping baby has somehow morphed into an angry force to be reckoned with. Calm breathing has been replaced by screams of anger, fear or even worse for a breast-feeding mommy, hunger. This sudden change is enough to frazzle the nerves of even the most experienced of caregivers. My mother used to tell me, “Birds fly and babies cry.” She wasn’t kidding. Coming to terms with the fact that all babies will cry is the first step to being able to soothe your weeping bundle of joy.

Babies cry. It is the only way for them to communicate with you at this stage in their lives. The first step to calming a crying baby is to be a calm parent. An infant cries in order for us to fulfill whatever need that is not being met at that particular time. When a parent is behaving frantically, the baby will pick up on that, which will unfortunately lead to more crying. A parent who is relaxed will be better able to recognize why a baby is crying and be better equipped to provide what is needed to calm the baby quickly.

When you want to understand the source of baby’s distress, try to follow a process of elimination. The usual suspects are a dirty diaper, hunger or just feeling lonely. Babies have a tendency to swallow a lot of air while crying. Try holding your child while rubbing his back gently in order to loosen trapped air pockets and bring the baby instant comfort. This method also gives you and baby some extra snuggle time. If, by chance, your little one drifts off to sleep while being held, congratulations! Problem solved.

If not, next thing you want to do is to check for a soiled diaper. Your baby should be relatively calm now, but be warned, your baby may not like the fact that his diaper is being changed. Try speaking softly or even singing to your baby using a calm, gentle tone. If you can’t think of a song, no problem – try humming. Speaking softly to your baby, singing and humming are great ways to create a distraction from whatever is bothering your infant. It also helps to keep a parent relaxed at the same time. It is so important for a parent to maintain a calm, relaxed demeanor during this time. Babies feed off of the energy around them. A relaxed parent equals a relaxed baby. A frustrated and frantic parent will result in an unsettled and upset baby.

While changing the diaper, watch for signs that your child may be feeling hungry. Possible signs of hunger include opening and closing the mouth, sucking on lips, tongue and fingers and turning his head when something is near his mouth. You may find that, although baby wasn’t hungry when the crying started, he may very well be ready for a feeding now. After feeding the baby, another diaper check may be necessary before putting the infant back down to sleep. It’s better to check now than to have baby’s diaper leak while he’s sleeping. Leaving baby in a soiled diaper could also lead to diaper rash and irritation of his sensitive skin.

Still, there are other times that no matter how many times you feed baby or change his diaper he just wants to be held. Unfortunately, this too can be tricky. Some babies enjoy being swaddled. It mimics the environment they were housed in for roughly nine months of their lives. On the other hand, some babies hate being confined and prefer to have their arms and legs free. It all depends on each individual baby. Some enjoy the motion of a rocking chair while others prefer to feel your body as you walk back and forth. Very few, however, are satisfied with a stationary parent as movement itself is comforting. If lullaby lyrics are long forgotten, time to brush up on the family favorites. Your baby may also respond more to one song than another. Repeating your child’s favorite lullabies is a great way to establish a sense of calm between the parent and the infant, as well as creating a bedtime ritual.

Please note that if you think your child’s fussiness and crying are excessive due to a possible medical condition, do not hesitate to contact your pediatrician.

With that said, enjoy your new arrival. Your baby’s first days and weeks may seem overwhelming, but they go by very quickly. Remaining calm and relaxed during those frustrating moments will give you more time for those loving moments between you and your child. In the end, those will be the memories you keep with you forever.

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