One of the biggest challenges of parenting is how the baby can be calmed down every time she cries. There are many different reasons why a baby cries. She may be hungry, wet, sleepy, needing to burp, etc. Often times when her need is met or the cause of discomfort is eliminated, the child will be pacified.
But there are also instances of colic for infants - the condition of prolonged and unexplained crying of an otherwise healthy baby. If this is the case, it is best to stay calm and try to find the reason for the ongoing crying.
Remember these techniques to help soothe your baby:
- Swaddling. This is to bind the whole body to create a secure and more relaxed feel. The child's hand can be inside the swaddling cloth or his whole arm can be out so he can move them better. This way we give the baby a familiar feeling because this was her situation inside mum's womb.
- Let baby suck. Allowing the baby to suck her finger or hand can help her calm down. Just make sure they are clean. You can also help her do this if the baby is still struggling to control her hands. Depending on whether the parents are willing, a pacifier may be used as well.
- Use a baby carrier. Put the baby in the carrier and make sure she is positioned correctly and her head is well-supported especially if the baby is three months old or younger. The feeling of being held closely is sometimes sufficient to keep the child relaxed. It's also best if you walk around while the baby is carried.
- Sit on a rocking chair. Slow swinging helps to calm down some children. The result is the same if she is placed in a bouncy chair, baby swing, or automatic cradle. Just make sure it is properly assembled to avoid any accident. If the baby is about to doze off, move her to the crib or her bed so she would not get used to the rocking motion.
- Sing. A familiar voice, especially one that sings is an effective sedative for a crying baby. It doesn't matter to the child whether you are in tune or not. Just hearing a familiar voice and song is sometimes enough for her to feel a sense of security.
- Bathe the baby. For some children, bathing has a soothing effect. You can also let the water from the faucet run for a while as she bathes. Aromatherapy may also be used.
- Give baby a massage. If massage is a relaxing thing for us adults, so it is with babies. Just make sure you do it gently but not too lightly because it might tickle her.
- Go out of the room or house. Sometimes, a baby just needs a change of environment to change her mood too. If the weather is good (not too hot or cold), a quick stroll outside can help calm a fussy baby. Otherwise, you can just stay inside the house and move from one room to another.
- Amuse the baby. Young children get bored too. You can read a book to her or give her age-appropriate toys so she can be entertained. You can also play nursery rhymes and dance or sing along. Or let her face a mirror so she could see her reflection. Some blow bubbles or turn the lights on and off just to keep the child amused. What matters is that you find what interests her so you can get her attention.
- Stay quiet. If you think that the baby has been overstimulated and has reached the peak of her energy, then it is time to slowly calm down. If possible stay in a dimly-lit room or just close the curtains. Speak in a gentle and low voice and avoid the noisy or busy parts of the house. You can also try whispering, “Shh, shh, shh," because it will sound like the inside of a mother's womb.
Remember that crying is a normal baby response to her various experiences because she is yet to talk. Let us not ignore it. Find out as much as possible the cause of her crying and offer the necessary comfort.