For a baby, nothing can be more natural — and instinctive — than crying. Because they cannot speak yet, your baby cries to communicate their needs to you, such as their need to be fed, their need to sleep, and their need to be comforted.
But when you’re up in the middle of the night with a screaming baby, you’re definitely not thinking about any of these. All you want to do is to calm your baby down and get the both of you some much needed rest.
Like breastfeeding, potty training, and sleep training, the ability to comfort a fussy baby and stop them from crying seem like a simple enough task… until you actually try doing it. There are various reasons why your newborn baby is crying, and you need to be able to identify the right one to soothe them!
It can be daunting and scary, but there’s a way. If your baby is crying and nothing seems to calm them down, here are 7 things you can do.
1. Rock your baby while shushing them.
Rocking your baby is one of the most effective ways to calm your fussy baby. When they are carried and rocked, your baby’s heart rate slows down and they feel calmer and more relaxed. Your shushing is also a soothing sound, similar to how white noise works.
2. Play music that your baby likes.
Your baby loves listening to music, and what they will love best is your own voice — and they would not care if you’re singing off-key. However, during the wee hours of the night, if you don’t have the energy to sing, it’s also perfectly okay to use a musical mobile for soothing classical melodies. But choose your music according to your baby’s preferences, too. If they lean toward popular music, go ahead and let them enjoy their tunes!
3. Distract them with something pleasantly surprising.
Sometimes, the reason why your baby is crying is that they just can’t stop crying. Even when you have already taken care of the problem, such as a wet diaper, they are so distressed that they have a difficult time getting soothed. In order to address this issue, it helps to distract them with something like the sound of their favorite knitted rattle.
4. Take your baby for a drive.
Sometimes, calming a fussy baby can be done with something as simple as a car ride. The motion and vibration of a car ride can soothe even the fussiest baby — and can even lull them into a peaceful sleep! Other than the motion of the car, the fresh air and the change in scenery can also help improve your baby’s mood.
5. Give your baby a massage.
Massaging your baby has a lot of benefits, and one of them is making them feel calmer and more relaxed, especially if they are crying. With gentle but firm strokes, massage your baby’s chest, arms, legs, feet, and back. You can even make baby massage a part of your nightly bedtime routine.
6. Minimize the stimulation.
If your baby is crying but is fed, their diaper is fresh, and nothing seems to be the issue, the possible culprit might be overstimulation. Our usual environment, with bright lights and noise, can easily overstimulate a wee newborn baby. To address this, minimize the stimulation by dimming the lights, turning off the television, and just keeping things calm and quiet.
7. Take a break.
If you’re on the edge and feeling frustrated, don’t push it! Handling your baby when you’re running on the last bit of your patience will do more harm than good. If nothing else works, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a break.
After making sure that your baby is on their back and safe in their crib (without any clutter), feel free to leave the room for a while to keep your temper in check. You cannot calm your fussy baby without feeling calm yourself, so make yourself a cup of tea, listen to music, or call your mom or a trusted friend.
Once you feel calmer and more in control of your temper, check on your baby. If they have calmed down, then you have done it! If they haven’t, try soothing them again until something eventually works.