For many parents hearing their baby cry nonstop is stressful and preoccupying. It is normal to feel anxious especially when your baby cries for hours and just cannot seem to calm down no matter what you do. The most important thing is to try to remain calm though, because it is only then that you can succeed in soothing your child.
Let us discuss some helpful tips that might enable you to calm down your crying baby more easily and effectively.
Trying to understand the baby’s needs
Some of the most common reasons why your baby might be crying include:
- Diaper needs to be changed
- Fear or anxiety
Some babies keep on crying until you realize what seems to be the problem. Therefore it is important that you pay attention to your baby so as to try to understand what it needs.
Getting used to your baby’s signals
There are a number of signs that your baby will use to show you that there is something wrong. These include changes in the baby’s moods or different crying patterns. At first these signals may be difficult for you to notice and comprehend. All cries seem the same, but in time you will get used to the way your baby cries when they are hungry, or when the diaper needs to be changed. The baby’s body language, such as an arched back, fists curled up or closed eyes, will be indicative signs of what your baby is crying for.
Paediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp recommends five things to calm down a crying baby. These are known as the Five S’s, and are related to the recreation of the womb environment so as to help the baby feel more at ease and calm down.
- Swaddle the baby by wrapping it in a blanket.
- Side or stomach position is recommended when holding your child.
- Shushing the baby by creating some form of white noise will help a bit.
- Swinging the baby in a rhythmic kind of motion can soothe him. This could be a ride in the stroller.
- Sucking also helps. Give the baby something to suck on.
Focus on yourself
It is common for parents to feel overwhelmed when their baby cannot seem to stop crying. Many blame themselves for not understanding what it wrong with the child. This leads them to feel more anxious, and in turn, this makes the baby feel more agitated. The more depressed and stressed out you get, the worse it will be and the more likely that your baby will keep on crying. You need to calm down so as to focus on your baby’s needs and signs. Try to keep your cool and if required ask for support or assistance.
It might be helpful to:
– Take a time-out – find ways that could help you calm down such as going for a breath of fresh air outside, counting to ten, and taking some deep breaths.
– If you are exhausted due to lack of sleep, some illness or you are suffering from baby blues or postpartum depression, you may need help from your partner, spouse or friend.
Remember that your child has feelings too and it will be understanding your emotions. The calmer you are, the calmer your baby can be. Keep that in mind!
Paying attention to attachment milestones
Your baby’s attachment progress is important and you need to keep an eye on it. From birth to 3 months, the attention it gives you is limited. As it grows older the baby will seek more engagement. By 5-6months your baby should be increasing its facial expressions, gestures and sounds, and so the level of attachment and communication between you is always increasing and improving. If for some reason you are noticing that these milestones are not happening, it could be an indication that there is something wrong. Talk to your paediatrician about this for guidance.
A baby with colic will cry inconsolably for a long time, and unfortunately colic affects one in every five babies. If your child is crying frantically and often, while clenching its fists, keeping its body stiff and bending its legs, most likely the reason is colic.
Colic generally ends by the time the baby is 14 weeks old. But in the meantime you need to do something to reduce the baby’s suffering. The paediatrician can recommend some drops that can help. Any food allergies and acid reflux problems will also be checked out.
If needed, seek help
Seeking help may be the final resort. You should not hesitate to do this if you feel that you have tried everything and still the problem is persisting. There are crying baby hotlines and parent helplines that might offer helpful assistance. Professional help may also be needed especially in cases where there are any medical problems or disabilities, or if the child was born prematurely or after a traumatic birth.