Soothing a Crying Baby
Newborns cry an average of 3 hours a day, and as a new mom, the physical reaction you have when you hear your baby cry, that gut feeling that you need to pick up your baby to tend to their needs, has a biological basis. The sound of your baby's cry will cause your body to release the hormone prolactin, which is responsible for that urge to pick your little one up and soothe them. Those times that your baby seems to cry and cry and cry no matter what can, therefore, be particularly stressful. Below you will find some great tips to help soothe your little one when she or he is crying.
- The Womb – There are certain motions and sounds that will soothe a crying baby because they remind them of the safe home they occupied for 9 months, your womb. Swaddling your baby tightly in a blanket, rhythmic swaying, and white noise, like the sound of a fan, can help your little one settle down.
- Massage – Long, smooth massage strokes on a baby's back, legs, arms, and stomach can help to calm him or her as well. Baby massage can work to not only calm your baby down, but can also nurture bonding between parent and child. An added bonus: baby massage has been reported to help babies sleep better throughout the night, which may mean better sleep for you!
- Voice – Both talking and singing to your baby can be extremely comforting and help to calm him or her. The familiar sound of a mother's voice may be most effective, but a soft, calm voice will probably be comforting no matter the source.
- Take a Ride – If going for a drive is an option, you should try it! The vibration from the ride may be just what your baby needs to be lulled off to sleep. Choosing calming music for the ride, such as a CD of nature sounds, or even the white noise of the ride can also be a soothing experience.
- Take a bath – A nice warm bath can be just as calming for a crying baby as it can be for a stressed adult. Giving your little one a bath could be just the thing they need in order to settle down.
- Gas – Be sure to rule out gas as the cause. Infants have trouble releasing gas on their own. Try burping your baby. If that does not do the trick, you may want to try infant gas drops. Just be sure to discuss the issue with your pediatrician before giving your infant any medication.
Though it can be difficult, the most important thing is to stay calm yourself. Babies are extremely perceptive and will be able to pick up on your stress. Your stress can add to their stress and the cycle continues. Set the tone by creating a calm environment, and listen to your baby. If you are trying something that doesn't seem to be working, it doesn't mean that you are a bad parent; it simply means that they aren't in the mood for that particular technique, and it is time to try something else. Over time, you will begin to know what techniques work best at what time, and by 3 months or so, your baby should naturally begin to spend less time crying. And remember, if your baby's crying seems to be indicating that something is wrong, don't hesitate to check with your pediatrician!