Soothing Solutions for Fussy Babies
You've fed your little one. The diaper's dry. You've patted baby's back. But your newborn is still crying. What do you do?
Don't bring the child into your own bed, cautions Karen Troyan, RN, patient care facilitator in the Regional Center for Newborn Intensive Care at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
"It's so easy to put a baby into an adult bed, especially when you are so tired," Mrs. Troyan says, "but the consequences can be life-altering." A US Consumer Product Safety Commission study found an average of 64 deaths per year were linked to children under 2 sleeping in adult beds.
Rather than take such a dangerous risk, Mrs. Troyan recommends other ways to soothe a fussy baby.
- Use calming motions. Gently and slowly stroke downward on your baby's back, cheeks, arms or the bridge of the nose. Remember: Stroke down to calm down, rub up to wake up.
- Move it. That sweet baby got used to lots of movement while inside mom. So give your infant some more of that and rock, walk, sway, stroll or drive.
- Cuddle up. Remind infants of the cozy environment they came from by swaddling them and holding them close to you.
- Noise, please. It was loud in mom's womb! Try to recreate that experience with background sounds from a ticking clock, fan or white noise machine.
- Take a break. "You don't want to overstimulate your baby by changing from one thing to another too often," Mrs. Troyan says. If you become frustrated, place your baby safely back in the crib and take a short break. Babies can pick up on your mood; they can't relax if you aren't relaxed.
In short, get to know your child. "Babies don't always know how to soothe themselves," Mrs. Troyan says. "In the beginning, it's a lot of trial and error." The more ways you try, the closer you get to finding what works best for you and your baby.