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Best Tips Soothe a Fussy Baby
You arrive home with your new baby, and you’re exhausted but excited to finally be home! Then. . .the fussing starts! OH NO! What do you do? All the Drs., Nurses, and Lactation Consultants are no longer a button click away! Don’t worry mama, we’re on the job!
I know reality really set in for me the day we brought our daughter home from the hospital. It had all seemed like a nice daydream for the first few days while we were at the hospital. There someone was always around to help and answer questions. There were always extra hands when needed, and many words of encouragement. Not to mention there was nothing else to do but focus on caring for my baby. 🙂 I thought now I’m on my own, and my metal will be tested! What do you do with a Fussy baby when it’s just you and your baby?
What Can Cause Fussiness in Babies?
There are SO many things that new babies fuss about that it can be hard to keep up! As a new mom this can feel very overwhelming, and at first it seems that all crying sounds the same! The good news is that over time as you and your baby learn about each other you will be able to make distinctions. As you grow together you will start to be able to discern whether your baby is crying because they are hungry or because they need a diaper change. 😊 Below are the most common reasons for fussiness in newborns:
- Wet or Dirty Diaper
- Gassy tummy/Need to Burp
- Needs Attention/Affection
- Temperature adjustment
- Teething Pain
- Not feeling well
- Small Irritations (i.e. hair tourniquet, scratchy clothing etc.)
It’s common to feel like you’ll never figure out what your baby needs, and sometimes they do cry for no reason. They just need to release some tension (like we all need to do from time to time 😉). Hang in there mama! Give yourself some grace and appreciate that you are doing a great job! It will get better as you both learn and feel each other out. Think of it this way, did you know everything about your spouse’s likes and dislikes the first night you met? NO! That comes with time, and this will too. Just take it one day at a time, and you’ll be a pro before you know it! 😊
Why do Babies Fuss?
There are several reasons that babies fuss, perhaps the most easy to understand reason is that they’ve just had a complete environment change. They are adapting to life outside the womb, inside which all their needs were automatically met. Now they’re having to learn how to “behave” in certain ways to get their needs met. Crying is also the main way that babies communicate with the world around them, it’s an automatic reaction for them. As time progresses you will notice that your baby has different cries to elicit different responses from you and your partner. But there are also some times when no matter what you try your baby won’t stop crying! This can feel very overwhelming and discouraging.
I remember many times when it was getting late, we had tried everything to soothe our daughter, and nothing worked. When you’re worn out, overly emotional, and feel like the crying is somehow your fault, it is hard to think straight. There were plenty of times I cried with her just from the overwhelm! ☹ Finally we got creative, and found that a shower with some skin to skin contact did the trick! I also did this out of the shower, just removing my shirt and laying my baby on my chest or torso. It did wonders to help her feel secure! I found it helpful to remind myself quite often that this is only a season of life, and it too will pass. 😊
Ask Dr. Sears
Here is a piece of very helpful advice from askdrsears.com. He states that “ If you are responsive to your baby and try to keep them feeling secure in their new world, you need not feel that it’s your fault if your baby cries a lot. Nor is it up to you to stop your baby’s crying.” I want to add a ! to that!!! When I read that it really took a weight off my shoulders and I could feel more at ease in trying to comfort my little one. You’re doing a great job mama! Keep up the good work, and pat yourself on the back that you’ve made it this far! 😊
10 Best Tips to Soothe a Fussy Baby
Tip 1: Nurse/Feed Your Baby
The number one go to for me whenever my baby was fussy was to offer the breast, and see if she was ready to nurse. Check out some great products for nursing here! If your exclusively pumping or using formula you can offer an ounce or so of formula to see if that entices your baby and calms the crying. If your baby has established a good latch for nursing and is nursing well you can also try a Pacifier as some babies just have a higher sucking need than others and this can be tiring for your body and your nerves. I highly recommend the following glow pacifiers, these are great for night time!
*This tip is a suggestion from my good friend Tara Johnson, and it really worked wonders!
Tip 2: Check for Dirty or Wet Diaper
The second most common reason, and an easy fix after you check for hunger is a dirty or wet diaper. With a quick check of the diaper you can have your baby all smiles again in no time! I know this seems like a no brainer, but as a new mom when your baby is fussing and just won’t stop it can wear on your mental capacity to think of these simple basic needs. (This happened to me a lot in the beginning.)
Tip 3: Make Sure to Burp Your Baby After Each Feeding
Not every baby burps after every feeding, or spits up as is commonly thought. So make sure to offer a burp after every feeding session to make sure that there are no gas bubbles left in baby’s tiny tummy. See the techniques below to find one that works well for you and your baby!
- You can Sit Baby on your lap and hold under their chin and pat the back vigorously. (Don’t be afraid, you won’t break your baby, in fact the more vigorous the patting the more likely you are to get a successful burp out!)
- You can hold Baby on your shoulder and pat or rub their backs while bouncing slightly.
- You can also if neither of the above are working, see if they need to pass gas instead of burp by laying baby on their back and pressing their feet gently towards their head.
- Another way to check for a gas bubble is to lay baby on their back and do circles with their knees up and towards their tummy, then out and down. (This trick worked wonders for my LO!)
I also found for Hiccups that laying my baby on my stomach on her back and gently bouncing and massaging her tummy seemed to help ease the pain, and calm the diaphragm and epiglottis.
*This tip is a suggestion from my Massage Therapist, Lori Walter, from Stretch 4 Life, check out her website here!
Tip 4: Check for Anything Causing Pain
If you have checked all the above symptoms, and nothing is soothing your baby, check over their body for anything that could be causing them pain or discomfort. Sometimes a hair gets wrapped around a tiny finger or toe, or there’s a snag or scratchy tag in their clothes. These issues can be easy to overlook as they are usually not blatantly obvious.
Tip 5: Check Your Environment
The last area to check if all else fails is your environment. Baby’s can’t tell us the sun is in their eyes, or they don’t like how loud a room is. Try removing the blanket if they are swaddled, to check if they are to warm, or not warm enough. Remember that your baby is an individual and just because you like things a certain way doesn’t mean your child will. You may need to make some slight adjustments for a while, but you will find a good pattern that works for the both of you! 😊
Tip 6: Movement
This is a great way to calm your little one, they are used to being in the womb, where you were rocking them to sleep with every step! This is a natural instinct for most women, but when we get frazzled we can forget even the most basic things. Try rocking, moving around the room, changing the scenery and interacting with your baby to see what works best for your child. Going for a drive is another good option, and works like a charm. 😊 I also like to wear my baby! Check out these awesome wraps and slings to give you a hands free option!
*This tip is from a few of my friends, and my own mother: Veroncia Eisenhardt, Amanda Drews, Tara Johnson, and Allison Mills.
Tip 7: Noise and Music
Babies like repetitive sounds. When they were in the womb your heartbeat sang them a constant lullaby. Try humming, playing white noise, or ambient sounds in your Nursery to help keep your baby calm and secure. My daughter’s current favorite is Rain! 😊 Also singing your favorite hymns and lullabies is a great way to soothe your child. Your voice is one of the most calming sounds your child can hear, as it’s the first thing they really get to know about you when they develop hearing in the womb.
*This tip came from Mari Cates, and Jeannie Schmidt.
Tip 8: Distraction
Sometimes all it takes to calm your fussy baby is to interact with them, distract them from what they are crying over. With Newborns they need a lot of attention and the only communication tool they have is their cry. As they get older and more able to communicate it gets easier to detect why they are fussing. And sometimes just a redirect of attention will help them to forget what is causing them to be upset. A good example is when my daughter would want something she couldn’t have, she would scream and cry if we took it away, so daddy would often hand her one of her favorite toys or squishes and she immediately forgot about the TV remote she just had in her hands. (Go daddy!) 😊
*This tip comes from Allison Mills.
Tip 9: Stay Calm
Often our own attitudes can lend themselves to our children’s fussiness. It may not be the root cause, but it is important to remember that your baby is picking up all their social and emotional cues from you. So if you can stay calm and confident they will feel more secure.
*This tip is also from Mari Cates.
Tip 10: Skin to Skin
There were several times when my daughter seemed inconsolable, and in a last ditch effort to calm her I stripped us both down and we had skin to skin contact like the very first day we met. Another good method for this is to take a shower or bath with your sweet baby. This especially helped us at night to soothe her to sleep when she was so fussy that no one could sleep!
*This tip also comes from Allison Mills.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about How to Soothe your Fussy Baby
- The main thing to focus on when you have a fussy baby, and you’re feeling overwhelmed is to know that you can do this! You know your baby better than anyone else, and you will find what works for you both as your relationship grows.
- What are your thoughts on how to solve the mystery of the fussy baby? Do you have a great tip you don’t see above? Add it in the comment section below, or click the “Click here” button to submit your own tip and I will add it! I love hearing all your wisdom, and sharing mine with you! Let’s do this together mama!
- As always, if you enjoyed this post, please share this with your friends! Also don’t forget to leave your questions in the comment section below! I am here for you, let me know your pain points, what are you struggling with? Together we can find a solution, and encourage one another!