39 Proven Ways To Calm a Fussy Baby
It is extremely disconcerting when you’re a new parent, and you can’t get your baby to settle down.
But, there are several techniques that have been proven to work. This is why, as a new mother, you may call your mother to come help. She gets there, and baby is quiet within 5 minutes.
No, it is not because baby is all cried out. It’s more likely because she’s got skills that YOU WILL LEARN SOON. Then, you’d be a pro too.
How To Calm a Fussy Baby?
Before you do anything, first check
Calming a fussy baby is a process of elimination. They can’t talk, so you have to go through everything to figure out what is the matter.
As you become more experienced, this will become second nature to you. Before long, you may even know what is wrong, by the sound of their cry.
- Is baby hungry? Keep track of feeding times and look for early signs of hunger, such as lip-smacking or moving fists to his mouth. Keep a diary of when your baby is awake, asleep, eating, and crying. Write down how long it takes your baby to eat or if your baby cries the most after eating. Talk with your child’s doctor about these behaviors to see if her crying is related to sleeping or eating.
- Is the house temperature at a comfortable level for baby? Baby could be too hot or too cold. Dress your baby in about the same layers of clothing that you are wearing to be comfortable. However, if baby is on a swing, perhaps it is colder near the floor. Perhaps baby is near or under a vent/ draft.
- Is baby wet or soiled? Some babies are okay with a wet diaper. Some are not and they’ll let you know, too. Check the diaper and eliminate that as a cause of baby’s fussiness.
- Is baby spitting up a lot, or vomiting? Some babies have symptoms from acid reflux/ gastroesophageal reflux (GER). It is very common. Often, the fussiness can be confused with colic. Contact your pediatrician if your baby is fussy after feeding, is excessively spitting up or vomiting, and is losing or not gaining weight.
- Is baby sick? Does he/she feel warm? Have you checked for a fever? If your baby is younger than 2 months and has a fever, call your child’s doctor right away. Baby could also be teething. When teeth cut through gums, it is painful for baby and there may not be any outward sign of this.
- Is baby overstimulated? Having a new baby in the house can be very exciting, especially for guests. Perhaps baby was passed around so many times that he/she is overstimulated. It’s also entirely possible that the bright lights of the tv may be annoying for baby, or the music in the background may be too loud and rowdy. Turn off the lights, tv and all electronic devices.
- Are baby’s clothes comfortable? There could be a tag scratching your baby. Check that it’s not too tight or uncomfortable. The fabric may be itchy on your baby’s skin. Also, check tight-fitting pants that could push against the belly and cause uncomfortable gas pains.
- Is baby comfortable from head to toe. A hair may be twisted around his/her finger, cutting off circulation. Check his/her diaper too – a hair may be twisted around a penis as well. There could be a hair in baby’s mouth. A foot may be cramped. Baby may just want to be taken out of one position, and put into another.
- Is the pacifier clean? – Is there a hair twisted around it? Perhaps it has a bad taste for baby.
- Is baby crying during feedings? If you are formula feeding your baby, check the bottle nipples. Perhaps the milk isn’t coming out enough or it’s coming out too fast. You may need to test a few bottle nipples to see which one he/she prefers.
- Has baby been burped? Gas can be extremely uncomfortable for a little person. Always burp your baby after feeding.
- Is baby tired? Babies get really cranky when they are tired. And no – they can’t “just go to sleep” if they’re tired. Unless they’re being lulled to sleep by a moving car or a swing, they usually won’t fall asleep by themselves. Put your baby to sleep according to a schedule. If you are unable to do that, make sure you put your baby to sleep the moment you first see them yawning, rubbing eyes or ears.
Here’s What To Avoid
- Do not overfeed your baby. Overfeeding causes discomfort. Try to wait at least 2 to 2½ hours from the beginning of one feeding to the next.
- If you’re breastfeeding, YOU may need to change your diet. Food sensitivity is often the cause of discomfort for breastfed babies. Your intake of dairy, caffeine, gassy or spicy foods are often the culprits. Speak to your child’s pediatrician for advice. Don’t worry about needing to cut these foods. While your diet is often the reason for baby’s digestive discomforts, it is not always the case. However, if it is – babies tend to quickly outgrow these food insensitivities and you may resume your usual diet
- Bottle-fed babies may need a change in formula. Ask your child’s doctor if you should try a different formula. A change in formula has been shown to be helpful for some babies.
- Bright Lights and Noises. If you’re changing baby’s diaper during the night, avoid bright lights and noises, like the TV.
Still Have a Fussy Baby?
- Swaddle your baby in a large, thin blanket. Muslin blankets are perfect for swaddling your baby. If you’re unsure of how to swaddle your baby, youtube is a great resource.
- Rub baby’s back. Hold your baby over your shoulder and rub his/her back. If the cause of baby’s fussiness is gas or digestion, this will help.
- Offer a pacifier. Sucking soothes and relaxes a baby.
- Put on some calming music. If the causes of baby’s fussiness is that they’re tired for example, the new soothing sounds may distract him/her enough.
- Turn on White Noise. This can be very calming because it can remind your baby of what it was like in the womb. You could use a white noise device, a fan, a vacuum cleaner, a hair dryer, etc. Here’s a link to a treasure trove of white noise videos to soothe your baby.
- Carry your baby around in a baby carrier. Being strapped to you can also remind baby of being in the womb.
- Take baby for a car drive. The consistent movement of a car can easily lull a baby to sleep.
- Gently rock your baby. Do this by holding your baby close and supporting his/her head and neck. Rock your baby no more than 1 inch back and forth.
- Use a Baby Swing. The rhythmic motions of a baby swing is very soothing. Make sure that it’s not going too fast.
- Kangaroo Care. This method is very effective, especially for preemies. It’s simple – both moms and dads can do this. It’s the act of holding your baby chest to chest, but it has to be skin to skin. Therefore, you will need to undress baby down to a diaper, and put him/her against your naked chest. If it’s cold, you can cover yourselves with a blanket – ensuring that you never cover baby’s head.
- Take a stroll around the neighborhood with the stroller. The gentle movement of the stroller will soothe your baby, provided of course he/she is not hungry, wet, or any of the other tips mentioned from 1-15 above.
- Change the hold and rock the booty. Comfort your baby by holding him/her on their stomach, hold their heads securely and gently shake their booty, like the video below.
- Use the washer or drier for laundry vibrations. If you happen to be doing the laundry, put baby in the car seat and place the car seat on top of the washer/ dryer – ALWAYS holding firmly onto the car seat. The vibrations of the washer/ dryer are very soothing.
- Baby massage. Babies love to be touched. With a massage they receive the benefits of a relaxing massage and your touch.
- Ease the gas. Gas is often the cause of baby’s discomfort. As mentioned above, always burp baby after every feeding. However, if you weren’t able to get rid of all the gas after feeding, an effective method of getting rid of baby’s gas, is to sit down on a chair and lay baby across your legs. Gently rub their back.
- More gas? Lay baby on his/her back and move their likes as if they’re riding a bicycle. If you suspect there’s more gas, talk to your doctor about over the counter medicines that you can use, like infant gas drops. Don’t worry if you think this is necessary. Lots of babies take gas drops.
- Baby may be constipated. If you suspect constipation, check with your child’s pediatrician.
- The colic hold. Hold your swaddled baby facedown on your forearm – like a football. Cradle baby close to you and rock him/her gently.
- Change of scenery. If all the obvious problems have been eliminated (hungry, wet), a simple change of scenery may turn your fussy baby into a calm baby. Often, distracting baby is enough to calm him/her down.
- A simple cuddle. For the 9 months, while baby was in your womb, he/she was always with you. Now that baby is out of the womb, it may get lonely in the crib, all by themselves. Sometimes a cuddle is all they need.
Your baby will grow quickly and if you miss the opportunity to hold your baby now, you may regret it later once they’re bigger. Don’t worry about those who say that you will spoil your baby. Food spoils. Babies don’t. Babies just want to be loved… and hugged.
- Relieve Boredom. If your baby is older, he/she may be bored. Dance with your baby, play peek-a-boo or have some playtime on the mat.
- When all else fails, pass baby on to Dad. The change may catch baby off guard and that may be enough to stop the fussiness. It also allows you to take a much-needed break.
- Shhh sound. This sound mimics the sound baby heard when he/she was in your womb. While baby is swaddled and you’re holding baby close, whisper ssshhhh into your baby’s ear.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have more ideas on how to calm a fussy baby, feel free to leave them in the comments.