Were you shocked after bringing home your baby how much they really cry? Sometimes in the dead of the night when the only thought on your mind is sleep they wail unmercifully. Calming a crying baby starts with understanding their needs, feelings, and the request behind the cry.
Babies do not commonly cry for no reason at all. They are reacting to some stimulus. They may be too tired and cannot get to sleep. They may be uncomfortable. Commonly it is a hunger response. Pain will bring on a higher shrill crying in most cases. Many times the crying can be from too much stimulation.
The problem is a baby cannot clearly communicate their request to us, so as a parent we must learn to interpret the cries, or to step down through the possibilities and eliminate the potential reasons for crying.
To start your efforts of calming a crying baby start with the obvious. Check the diaper and make sure your baby is dry, clean, and there is no painful diaper rash. Next, think about how long ago they ate. Could your baby be hungry a little early and just complaining they want to eat? Check over your baby’s clothes and make sure there are no bumps, buttons, or other items which may be pushing into their skin irritating them.
After you eliminate those few obvious items you can start with the comforting techniques to help them calm down and stop crying. One of your first efforts needs to include stopping their flailing arms and legs. When a baby gets irritated their arms and legs fly around rapidly increasing their level of distress, and sometimes scaring themselves. Use a swaddling blanket to carefully wrap your baby snugly bringing the motion to a halt.
If stopping the legs and arms does not bring the crying to a halt, then you may want to try a pacifier. Sucking has a very calming effect on most babies. Not all babies like a pacifier and you will quickly learn your baby’s preference.
Another technique which helps calm many babies is to hold them on their sides against your stomach or chest, with their face towards your body. Gently bounce or sway your baby to give them gentle motion simulating riding in the womb. This motion often quiets even the most agitated baby.
One other technique which has good results is shushing your baby. The rhythmic shushing sound needs to be loud enough to be heard over their cries. As your baby calms down then you can slowly decrease the volume of your shushing until you can completely stop.
The last technique is using a baby swing. When you are exhausted your emotions often transfer to your baby. Using a swing to gently rock them once they are wrapped and have their pacifier can allow you to relax, rest, and even sleep.
Learning to eliminate possibilities and using techniques for calming a crying baby will help you and your baby have more joy.