Calming a fussy baby is not without its challenges. We don’t always have all the information and figuring out what is wrong and fixing it can be frustrating and heart breaking. Of course patience and practice will be useful when trying to find what works for your baby. There is never a 1 size fits all answer and when I was having a challenging time soothing my babies, I would hear my mother’s voice say “this too shall pass”. Though if I’m being honest, when she would actually say this to me it didn’t help as much as it annoyed me! Here are a few tried and true methods to calming a fussy or colicky baby.
- Swaddle baby – wrap him/her securely in a large thin blanket. Be careful not to wrap too tightly or displace the hips.
- Walk or rock baby – movements they felt in the womb can be calming.
- Shush – Calming sounds can help sooth baby, try white noise, the hum of a fan, a heartbeat recording or repetitive ‘shush shush shush’ while rocking and walking.
- Hold baby, on his/her left side to support digestion or on her stomach for support.
- Burp and Bicycle baby’s legs – this motion may help baby to expel gas and feel better.
- Don’t over feed –If baby has eaten many times in a row, try offering a pacifier to satisfy the need to suck without over feeding. Breastfed babies should have 8-12 feedings in a 24 hour period and cluster feeding is normal, but sometimes baby wants to suck to alleviate a stomach ache from fullness which leads to over feeding and a worse stomach-ache.
- Keep a diary of baby’s patterns, eat, sleep, wake and cry and discuss with your doctor.
- Check fingers and toes for a hair that may have wrapped around it, or for a diaper that is pinching.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated or angry and your baby won’t stop crying have someone take care of baby so you can take a break, even if only for a short time. If there is nobody to help you, place baby on his/her back in their safe crib and a take a short break. A shower can help you feel refreshed, or take a walk with baby in the stroller. Fresh air and exercise while listening to your favorite playlist is healthy for everyone. Sometimes both baby and the caregiver need a break.
Remember – NEVER SHAKE YOUR BABY! Talk to your doctor if you are feeling depressed, anxious or having trouble with your emotions.