Babies use crying to communicate hunger, fear, sleep, and pain to their parents. At times, baby cries are very frustrating especially when it is at night and gets worse when the baby won’t stop crying. Learning the right techniques and ways of soothing your baby can help you in calming down the baby.
Here are some of the ways to calm down your crying baby. Let's take a look.
Hold the baby
Despite the reason why the baby may be crying, holding the baby comfortably and warmly has a calming effect on the baby. Physical contact is one of the best ways of soothing the baby. It is important to note that babies like to be held in the arms or carried in front-pack carriers and backpacks (for older babies).
Breastfeed the baby
Breastfeeding provides a nursing effect on babies thereby making them calm down if they were crying. Since much of the baby’s food is supplemented through breast milk, breastfeeding is a healthy and nutritious way reducing the baby’s cries while ensuring that his/her dietary needs are met. If a baby’s cry is due to hunger or thirst, then the baby will instantly calm down after you start breastfeeding him/her.
Babies are fond of creative repetitive and rhythmic motions such as swinging, rocking, swaying, dancing, jiggling or taking a short drive. Repetitive motion distracts the baby from whatever issue is making the baby cry. When done for a considerable amount of time, the baby forgets that he/she was even crying. You can also take the baby for a walk though this might be quite tiresome if the baby is heavy.
Make skin contact with the baby
When you let your skin come into contact with that of the baby, the temperate of the baby is stabilized thereby reducing heart rates and relieving stress hormones. In addition to this, touch helps in stimulating oxytocin release- the hormone responsible for love and bonding between a parent and the baby.
When in the womb, the baby was surrounded by a whooshing noise produced by the motion of the amniotic fluid. When the baby is crying persistently, make a shushing sound while swinging the baby gently from one side to the other. You should ensure that the sound you make is louder than the baby’s cries. You can turn on your radio to a static station or use a white noise app (for IPhone) to produce the shushing sound.
Play soft music
Soft peaceful music has a magical effect on a crying baby. Ideally, even lullabies are soft and peaceful to help the baby relax and calm down while preparing to sleep. You necessarily do not need to have a sweet voice like a pro musician as babies are not choosy when it comes to music. When playing music from a gadget such as a radio, you can vary the type of music you play from classical music to jazz and country music.
Massage the baby
Massage is an efficient and wonderful way of calming down a crying baby. Babies love soft touches and strokes especially on the back. Variations of baby massages include pats, soothing rubs, and tickling on the skin. A rhythmic pat on a baby’s bottoms can also work excellently to calm down a crying baby.
Let the baby suck on something
When a baby is sucking something in the mouth, it is quite easy for him/her to get distracted and stop crying. The best pacifier to give to a baby is a mother’s breast but when it is not available, the baby can suck a battler, a commercial pacifier, a teething toy, or even the baby’s own fingers. You can also let the baby suck your finger but you should ensure that it is clean to avoid introducing germs and bacteria into the baby’s mouth.
Keep your cool
If you show the baby that you are agitated or frustrated by his crying, the baby will most probably cry and yell harder. Instead you should maintain your cool and try making funny facial expressions at the baby. Also, do not try too hard to calm the baby down as this may backfire and frighten the baby more. At times, you should let the baby cry for a few minutes as you figure out the best way to calm him down.
Avoid bed sharing unless when breastfeeding
One common mistake made most mothers particularly first-time mothers is bed sharing with the baby all the time. This makes the baby overly dependent on the mother such that he/she cannot spend a minute alone without crying. Also, bed sharing may make babies uncomfortable especially if the adult with whom the baby is sharing the bed with has taken drugs, smoked or is drunk.
Place the baby in the right position when sleeping
When a baby is placed in a restraining position, he/she becomes uncomfortable and will cry a lot until when placed in the right position. The best position to lay a baby when sleeping is on his back or on the side (specifically for older babies over 1 year of age). Additionally, it is important to provide soft cushioning beneath the baby since their bodies are fragile as most bones are not yet fully developed.
Burp the baby
Burping is only efficient if the baby is crying after swallowing air while feeding or sucking milk from a bottle. If this air is not released, it may cause discomfort thereby making the baby greatly bothered and may cry continuously for a long time.
Giving the baby a warm bath may also help with calming him down when crying. This method is mainly applicant on a cold weather day as the baby may not be interested in taking a warm bath on a hot and sunny day.
When you identify a soothing strategy that works for your baby, keep doing it and stick to it whenever you want to calm down the baby when he/she is crying. Avoid trying a new strategy after every 5 minutes as this may be over-stimulating to the baby and he/she may end up crying more.