When you are a new mother and your baby is constantly crying it can be exhausting. Trust me, I know, I’ve been there. All three of my children spent the first couple months of their lives crying constantly. I’m talking arched back, tight fist, rigid body, screaming – for long periods of time. It got worse at night. They would cry and cry for several hours every evening. They were beyond fussy and were what you would consider colicky. When this started with my first child, I was completely exhausted. By the second child, I had a handle on it but he cried even more than the first. By the time we had child number three I was practically a professional at how to calm a fussy baby. My children were on the extreme side of colic and we were thankful to find a medical reason that they were this way, which I will discuss their GERD and MSPI diagnoses in a later post. Whatever the reason, though, one thing remains constant; how to calm a fussy baby. So fear not, new mamas, hopefully these tips will help you and if nothing else, know that this stage will not last forever!
How to Calm a Fussy Baby in 4 Easy Steps
1. Swaddling-swaddling is a must! All babies enjoy being swaddled, it reminds them of being in the womb, but with fussy or colic babies it is an absolute must! A Tip is to use two receiving blankets instead of one and then hold them tightly and close to your body. This is where baby-wearing wraps come in handy. That way the child is held close to their mother but you still have hands free to do a few simple tasks.
2. White Noise-the type of noise will depend on the child. For some, simple “shhhhh” in the ear is fine. Others may find that the vacuum cleaner works or a white noise machine. One of my children actually liked music, not something soft and classical but instead with a beat! Try out different sounds and see what works.
3. Swinging, Swaying, or Rocking-typically this would be rocking your baby. Some newborns enjoy the swing and for others it is rocking. with mine it was holding them and dancing rhythmically through the house. I would turn on some music and they loved it.
4. Sucking-pacifiers, pacifiers, and more pacifiers. Sucking is often soothing to a newborn but they may not be ready for more food, a pacifier will give them the satisfaction.
Using all four of these tips at the same time will usually give the best results. Even with a typical baby, and not a fussy one, the combination of swaddling, white noise, light rocking, and a pacifier with quickly send them off to dream land.