5 Steps To Soothing Your Crying Baby
When your baby cries, one of the first things you want to do is make it stop! While the reasons why a baby cries can get complex (since crying is communication and ensure survival), getting a crying baby calmed down can help everyone feel better.
Sources suggest imitating the womb to calm your baby down. The womb is a surprisingly noisy place – it’s dark, snug, and full of various sounds such as blood rushing through the circulatory system and food moving through the digestive organs. And when a mom-to-be walks around, turns over, or moves in any way, her baby feels it. So keep those things in mind as we discuss these 5 steps to soothing your crying baby.
1. Calm Yourself
This oft-forgotten step is crucial. Babies can pick up on your tension and anxiety, which can be quite high after you’ve listened to a crying baby for a while. Many experts are pointing to parental calmness as a key player in calming a baby. Take whatever steps you know work for you that give you a sense of calm and peace – meditation, prayer, deap breathing, even stretching (if baby is in a safe place) are all possibilities. Soothing music may help you and baby to feel calmer.
Many mothers swear by this one. The close feeling of the swaddling blanket helps your baby feel secure and “contained,” as in the uterus. Make sure you do it safely, though – lay out a thin, soft blanket, fold down a corner, and lay baby so the back of his head is on the folded down corner. This keeps the blanket from covering baby’s face. Then bring one corner of the blanket across baby’s body and tuck it underneath him. Loosely bring up the bottom of the blanket up to the bottom of baby’s neck, then bring the other side corner up and tuck it under your baby. Do not lay baby on his stomach, and make sure his feet can still move freely. Check with your pediatrician or midwife to make sure you’re doing it safely.
Instead of swaddling, putting baby in a sling (approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics or equivalent organization) and walking her around can help. This is another womb mimicking environment that many babies find so relaxing that they fall asleep.
This “shushing” or “sh” sound that mothers seem to make by instinct is right on track. It sounds like the sounds of the womb, and acts a bit like “white noise.” Experts say you can “shush” as loudly as you need to; you can also play a CD of womb sounds or run an appliance like a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner.
Whether you are breastfeeding or use pacifiers and bottles, satisfying the suckling instinct is very calming for babies. You can offer him the breast or something baby safe to suck on (such as a pacifier).