No medication, pharmaceutical or herbal remedy, or treatment approach is a sure cure for a baby’s crying, and some may actually worsen it. To complicate matters more, what may be soothing to one baby may step up squalling in another. But there are a number of strategies that may work at least some of the time. When trying out various methods of baby calming, stick to one at a time, being sure to give each a fair trial before switching to another – otherwise, you may find you are trying, trying, trying and baby is crying, crying, crying . Here are a few tricks you can pull out of your parental hat the next time the crying starts:
Crying is your baby’s only way of wielding any control over a vast and bewildering new environment, of communicating, of making things happen: ‘When I call someone answers’. If you regularly fail to respond, the baby may feel not only powerless but also worthless (‘I’m so unimportant that no one comes when I call’). Though it may sometimes seem that you’re responding in vain because no matter what you do, nothing helps, responding promptly to your baby’s whose parents responded to them regularly and promptly in infancy cry less as toddlers. In addition, crying that’s been left to intensify for more than a few minutes become harder to interpret- the baby becomes so upset, even he or she doesn’t remember what started all the fuss in the first place. And the longer baby cries, the longer it takes to stop the crying Of course, you don’t always have to drop every-thing to answer baby’s call if you’re in the middle of taking a shower, draining the spaghetti or answering the doorbell. Baby’s being left to cry for a couple of extra minutes now and then won’t prove harmful –as long as the infant can’t get into trouble while waiting for your . A ten- or fifteen-minute break taken from a colicky marathon of crying won’t hurt baby, either-again, as long as he or she is in a safe place. (For particularly difficult cases of inconsolable crying, some experts suggest setting up a routine in which you let baby cry for ten or fifteen minutes in a safe place like his cot, pick him up and try to soothe him down and repeat. If you’re comfortable with this, it apparently won’t cause any problems.)
Don’t worry about spoiling your baby by responding promptly. You can’t spoil a young infant. And more attention doesn’t lead to increased dependency. In fact , quite the opposite is true: babies whose needs are readily met are likely to grow into more secure and less demanding children.
2. Assess the situation.
Before deciding your baby is crying just for crying’s sake, determine if there’s a simple and remediable underlying cause. If you think it may be hunger, try breast or bottle, but don’t make the mistake of invariably responding to tears with food. Even at this tender age, food should be a response to a need for food, not attention or comfort. If you suspect fatigue, try rocking baby to sleep in your arms, a pram, a cradle or a baby carrier. If a wet nappy may be triggering the crying , change it. If baby seems too warm take off a layer or two of clothing, open the window, or turn on a fan or air conditioner. If cold may be the problem (neck or body feels cold to the touch), add a layer or turn up the heat. If baby began to cry when clothes were stripped off for a bat , quickly cover him with a towel or blanket . If you think baby’s being in the same position for too long may causing discomfort, try a new position. If he’s been staring at the same view for the last half hour, try changing it. If you’ve been inside all day, venture outside (weather permitting.)
3. Get Close.
In societies where babies are carried papoose style, long periods of carrying unknown . This traditional wisdom seems to translate well in our culture, too; research has shown that babies who are carried in the arms or in a baby carrier for at least three hours every day cry less than babies who aren’t carried as often. Not only does carrying your baby give him or her the pleasure of physical closeness to you (and after nine months of constant closeness, that may be just what baby’s crying for), but it may help you tune in better to baby’s needs.
Being tightly wrapped is very comforting to some young infants, at least during times of colicky distress. A few, however, intensely dislike swaddling; the only way you’ll know which holds true for your baby is to give swaddling a try the next time colic begins.
5. Give a cuddle.
Like swadding cuddling gives many babies a sense of security; hold baby pressed close to your chest, encircled snugly by your arms. (And as with swaddling, some babies prefer more freedom of movement and will balk at being held tightly.)
6. Try a little comfort.
Comfort for a newborn comes in different packages. In addition to holding, wearing and cuddling your baby, try any or all of the following:
- Rhythmic rocking, in your arms, a pram, a cradle , a vibrating infant seat, automatic baby swing (when baby’s old enough; ) . Some babies respond better to fast rocking than to slow – but don’t rock or shake your baby vigorously, since this can cause serious whiplash injury. For some babies, rocking side to side tends to stimulate, rocking back and forth to clam. Test your baby’s response to different kinds of rocking.
- Walking the floor with baby in a carrier or swing, or simply in your arms. Tried and true, it’s tiring but it often works.
- A warm water bath. But only if your baby like the bath; some babies only scream louder when they hit the water.
- Singing. Learn whether your baby is soothed by soft lullabies, sprightly rhymes or pop tunes, and whether a light, high pitched voice or a deep, strong one is more pleasing. If you hit on a tune your baby likes, don’t hesitate to sing it over-most babies love repetition.
- Rhythmic sounds. Many babies are calmed, for example, by the hum of a fan, vacuum cleaner or tumble dryer, a tape recording of uterine gurgling, a parent’s repeated ‘sh’ or a record that plays soothing nature sounds, such as waves breaking on the beach or wind blowing through trees.
- Laying on the hands. For babies who like to be stroked, massage can be very calming ( though it can cause increased screaming in those who don’t ). You may find it relaxing to both of you to administer the massage lying on your back, baby face down on your chest.
7. Add a little pressure.
On baby’s tummy, that is. The colic carry or any position that applies gentle pressure to baby’s abdomen ( such as across an adult lap, with belly on one knee and head on the other), can relieve discomfort that might be contributing to the crying . Some babies prefer being upright on the shoulder, but again with pressure on their abdomens while their backs are being patted or rubbed. Or try this gas reliever: gently pu7sh baby knees up to his or her tummy and hold for ten seconds, then release and gently straighten them; repeat several times.
8. Resort to ritualism.
For babies who thrive on routine, having as regular a schedule as possible (feeding, bathing, changing, outing, and so on up to bedtime ritual) may reduce crying. If this seems to be the case with your baby (and you won’t know unless you check the theory out), be consistent even to the method you use for soothing baby or reducing crying don’t go for a walk one day, ride around in the car the next, and use a baby swing the third .Once you find what works, stick with it most of the time.
9. Satisfy with sucking.
Babies often need sucking for its own sake, rather than simply for nourishment. Some babies appreciate your help in getting their fingers ( particularly their thumbs) to their mouths for their sucking enjoyment. Other prefer grownup pinkies. Still other find pleasure in a dummy ( as long as you give it only to calm baby after you’ve attended to other needs and once breastfeeding is well established).
10. Start fresh.
A parent who’s been struggling for an hour to soothe a sobbing newborn will almost invariably start to show signs of stress and fatigue, which the infant is certain to sense and respond to with more crying. Hand baby over to another pair of arms for a fresh start the other parent’s, a relative’s or friend’s a sitter’s and the crying may cease.
11. Seek fresh air.
A change to an outdoor locale will often miraculously change a baby’s mood.Try a trip in the car, the baby carrier, or the pushchair. Even if it’s dark out, baby’s sure to find distraction in the twinkling or street and car lights. The motion will also almost certainly prove soothing.( If crying doesn’t stop during a car ride it can distract the driver- in that case, head home and try another trick.)
12. Control air.
A lot of newborn discomfort is caused by swallowing air. Babies will swallow less of it if you keep them upright as much as possible during feeding and burping. The right size teat hole on a bottle will also reduce air intake; be sure it isn’t too large (Which promotes gulping of air with formula) or too small (struggling for formula also promotes air swallowing ). Hold the bottle so that no air enters the teat or use an angled bottle or one with disposable liners), and be sure the formula is neither too hot not too cold (though most babies do fine with unheated formula, a few seem disturbed by it). Be sure to burp baby frequently during feedings to expel swallowed air. One suggested pattern for burping: every 15ml(½ fl oz) or every 30 ml (1 fl oz) when bottle feeding, between breasts when breastfeeding (or more ofgen if baby seems to be gulping a lot or seems in discomfort mid breast), and in both cases after feeding.
13. Be entertaining.
In the early months, some infants are content to sit and watch the world go by, while others cry out of frustration and boredom because there is as yet so little they are able to do no their own. Toting them around and explaining what you’re doing as you go about your business, and making an extra effort to find toys and other objects in the environment for them to look at and later swat at and play with, may hope keep them busy. On the other hand an over stimulated baby may be more prone to crying, so know when to stop sending in the clowns and start bringing on the quiet comfort.
14. Excise excitement.
Having a new baby to show off can be fun- everyone wants to see the baby, and you want to take him or her everywhere to be seen. You also want to expose baby to new experiences, to stimulating environments. That’s fine for some babies too stimulating for other ( particularly young ones). If your baby is colicky, limit excitement, visitors and stimulation, especially in the late afternoon and evening.
15. Do a diet check.
Be sure your baby isn’t crying because of hunger. Lack of adequate weight gain or signs of failure to thrive can clue you in. Increasing baby’s intake may eliminate the crying. If baby is bottle fed, ask the doctor whether the crying might be due to an allergy to the formula ( through this isn’t a likely scenario unless crying is accompanied by other signs of allergy). If you’re breastfeeding, you might consider doing a check of your own diet, since there’s the very slight possibility that the crying might be triggered by baby’s sensitivity to something you’re eating.
16. Check with the doctor.
While the odds are that your baby’s daily screaming secession are due to normal crying or colic, it’s a good idea to discuss it with the doctor to make sure there’s no underlying medical problem. Describe to the doctor the crying, its duration intensity, pattern and any variation from the norm- all aspects that may provide clues to an illness.
17. Look for relief.
This is one time it doesn’t make sense to say, ’I’ d rather do it myself’ Take advantage of any and every possibility for sharing the burden.
18. Wait it out.
Sometimes nothing relieves colic but the passing of time. Living with it will be a struggle, but it may help to remind yourself (over and over and over again): This, too, shall pass- usually by the time baby’s three months old.