Shhhh...Hush Little Baby
You've already made sure he has a full tummy and a clean diaper, but the cries don't stop. Eventually, you will learn your baby's cries and what they mean; but until then, look through our list of common causes of distress and what you can do to sooth your baby.
Upset Tummy - Babies can swallow air whether they breastfeed or take a bottle, so maybe a good burp is all that he needs. However, he might need some anti-gas drops like Mylicon or natural product like gripe water (made from herbs and sodium bicarbonate). Be sure to check with your pediatrician before using any medication.
Wants to Snuggle - Newborns like to feel warm and secure like they did when they were in the womb. Try swaddling your baby, wearing him a front carrier, or holding him in the nursing position while stroking his forehead. Often times, just hearing the familiar heartbeat of mom and taking in your unique smell will stop the flow of tears.
Overstimulation - Your baby can let you know he has had enough of the lights, noise, or being passed around by fussing and arching his back or refusing to make eye contact. When this is the case, turn the lights down and quiet the noise. At times, just putting your baby down in the crib or pack-n-play with a soft toy will do the trick.
Teething - Nothing brings out the fussiness like a tooth trying to break through your little one's gums. Teeth tend to appear in twos, with the first one emerging between four and seven months. If you notice a lot of drool, the desire to chew on everything, and a disruption in sleep patterns, then your baby might be teething. Try giving your baby a hard teething ring to chew on. You may put it in the freezer to get it cold; but be sure to remove it before it is frozen, so that it does not bruise the gums.
Baby Soothing Tips and Tricks
Studies show that the sucking reflex actually helps steady a baby's heart rate and relax his stomach. Offer a pacifier, toy, or even a finger.
Music and singing can quickly change the mood of your baby. Try singing your favorite lullaby or children's song and see how your baby responds.
White noise has a calming effect on many babies because it mimics the whooshing sound they heard in the womb. You can use a fan or download free samples of white noise from the internet.
Step outside for fresh air and a change of scenery.
Take your baby for a ride in the car. The sound and movement might lull him to sleep.
Dr. Harvey Karp, pediatrician and UCLA professor, recommends the 5 S's to turn on the 'calming reflex.' He says that combining all five of these tips can not only stop the crying, but also add several hours of sleep for your baby.
Swaddling - Wrapping your baby securely can keep your baby from startling himself out of sleep.
Side/Stomach Positioning - Hold your swaddled baby on his side or stomach.
Shushing - Make a 'shhhhh' sound in your baby's ear. You should be as loud as his crying so that he can hear you.
Swinging - Fully support your baby's neck and head, and then gently jiggle him to emulate the movements he felt inside the womb. Do NOT shake your baby; the movements should be like Jell-O moving on a plate.
Sucking - Give your baby something to suck on. Place him in his crib when he starts to get drowsy.
If your baby consistently cries more than 3 hours a day, it may be colic. For more information, visit http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/crying-colic-9/what-is-colic.
- Dr. Karp's Happiest Baby http://www.happiestbaby.com/
- American Academy of Pediatrics: 'Swaddling 101'
- March of Dimes: Soothing Your Baby When She Cries http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/298_27553.asp
- Family Education http://life.familyeducation.com