A crying newborn can be a challenge for any parent. Learning how to help soothe your crying baby can bring relief and may cut down on the amount of tears shed, for both of you! If you’ve taken care of the obvious reasons babies cry (dirty diaper, hungry, etc.) but your baby continues to cry, you may want to try some of these tried and true tricks, referred to as the “Six S’s”.
Wrapping your baby provides a snug and secure environment not unlike what they experienced within the womb and keeps a baby’s hands from flailing. Using a large enough lightweight blanket, snug baby’s shoulder and arm into and across his body and tuck the blanket around him. Repeat with the other side. Then flip up the bottom and tuck the ends around making sure there is room for legs to move and bend. Making sure that baby’s legs can bend up and out at the hips allows for proper hip development.
Placing your infant on their side or stomach provides a change of pace from the usual positioning on their back. Only use these positions when your baby is awake and remain with them. Changing positions frequently can provide your baby with a new point of view, and can also relieve uncomfortable gas pressure in your infant’s stomach. Tummy time helps your baby with strength, balance, hand use, eye-hand coordination, and the ability to roll over.
Shushing noises imitate the continual loud ‘whooshing’ sound made by the blood flowing through arteries near the womb. Any kind of white noise (blowing fan, clothes dryer, vacuum, radio) can help your baby calm down, go to sleep, and gets them used to sleeping with noise around them. There are several free white noise apps available as well. You can also sing or hum to your baby.
Swinging and Swaying:
You can always tell a new parent in line at the grocery store because they gently sway back and forth without even knowing it! Newborns are accustomed to the swinging motions within their mother’s womb. They basically lived in a swimming pool with no gravity pushing on them for 9 months! Rocking, car rides, and other swinging and swaying movements all can help. Of course, NEVER SHAKE A BABY.
Newborns are born knowing how to suck. Sucking at the breast, on a clean finger, or on a pacifier releases natural chemicals within the brain and triggers the calming reflex. If you choose to give your newborn a pacifier, remember that breastfed infants should wait 4 weeks before being offered one in order to establish good breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics goes so far as to state “pacifiers provide comfort, promote physiological tranquility, and help in growth and development.”
Skin to Skin:
Most birthing facilities promote skin to skin contact directly after birth, where the unwrapped newborn lies directly on your skin. This connection can provide you and your baby time to get to know each other and has proven to help regulate your baby’s temperature, blood sugar, and heart rate. Studies have also shown that babies are much more alert and cry less during this snuggling time. Skin to skin helps soothe a baby as they are able to hear and feel your heartbeat and become familiar with the feel of your skin. Plus there is nothing quite like having a newborn snuggle up so close to you!
Many of these soothing techniques can be used simultaneously. You can shush, swing, sway, and swaddle all at the same time. If your baby still continues to cry excessively don’t be afraid to consult your baby’s health care provider.