Before they learn to communicate in other ways, babies need to cry in order to try to convey all sorts of different emotions and needs. Sometimes the reason will be an obvious physical requirement and a feed, sleep or nappy change will solve the problem. At other times it may seem like your baby is crying for no reason at all, which often means a more complex, emotional need is not being met. If your little one is inconsolably irritated, try these simple soothing techniques, which may just comfort your child and restore a peaceful calm to your household.
Create a cocoon
The big wide world is full of new experiences and wonder for a newly born babe, but sometimes all she really wants is to be returned to the familiar protection of her mother’s womb. Recreate this safe environment for by wrapping her up tightly in a blanket, leaving her arms free if she prefers. Hold your baby close to your chest so she can hear that familiar heartbeat, or try running a bath and holding her close to you in the warm soothing water.
Build a calm environment
Many everyday activities can feel quite overwhelming to a very young baby, particularly if there have been guests in the house or she has had a particularly active day. Crying could simply be her way of telling you “I’ve had enough”. If this seems to be the case, take your baby away from any outside stimulation including other people, the television and the radio, and find a quiet, darkened room. Stay with her while she becomes settled in this new calming environment, which may initially cause more tears but should eventually soothe her into a more relaxed state.
Sing a song
You may be no Aretha Franklin but that’s not to say that your baby won’t feel comforted by the sound of your singing voice. The time-honoured method of soothing babies to sleep with a lullaby works not only for your child, but can help you to feel calm in the midst of a lengthy bout of crying. Try gently rocking your baby to the rhythm of your song or if she’s feeling energetic why not have a little dance together? The sight of you waving your hands in the air to Old MacDonald may just be enough to raise a smile.
Take a walk
Your child is very sensitive to changes in temperature and can find stuffy, heated rooms not only uncomfortable, but extremely distressing. If you sense your baby’s crankiness may be due to overheating, take her outside for a walk either in her pushchair or a sling. A simple change of environment and some fresh air is sometimes all it takes to calm an irritable baby and will have the added benefit of clearing your head as well. Getting out and about is incredibly important for new parents as it can restore a sense of normalcy and help with any feelings of stress and isolation.
Have a break
Her nappy is dry, she has had a nap, she’s been fed, washed and sang to, rocked and everything else you can think of but your baby is still wailing. The fact is that all babies cry, and unfortunately some cry far more than others, sometimes for no apparent reason. When you feel you are at the end of your tether it is important that you take a step back and allow yourself to breathe. If you become panicky and stressed, your baby may sense these emotions and take even longer to calm down. Try putting your baby down safely in her cot and leaving the room for a few minutes to try and catch your breath, or ask a trusted person to take care of her while you take a walk or have a sleep. Taking a little bit of ‘me time’ is important for your sanity and is conducive to a calm and relaxing atmosphere at home which in turn may inspire a more calm and relaxed attitude from even the most irritable infants.
For more advice and help with crying babies take a look at the Cry-sis website
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