Babies cry for at least 2-3 hours daily in the first one-and-a-half months. Crying is their natural instinct. It’s also their way of catching your attention and communicating with you as their caregiver.
There are several reasons why babies cry. They may be feeling hungry, wet, uncomfortable, too hot, too cold, or frightened. As the weeks go by, you’ll eventually be able to identify your baby’s cries throughout the day and fulfil their needs accordingly.
Babies also cry when they get tired from daily stimulations by the middle of the day and are unable to relax. It helps if you can give them a little more loving attention during their crying spells instead of letting them ‘cry it out’, which may actually make your baby even more upset and harder to console.
But what if your baby is already well-fed, freshly changed, and not too hot or cold, but still won’t stop crying?
It’s normal for you to feel stressed and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t help much to lose your cool. Babies are able to sense your mood, so your they will have trouble calming down if you’re feeling agitated, depressed, angry, anxious, or detached yourself.
Just step back, take a deep breath, and count to 10. Then, try one of these ways to soothe your crying baby.
1. Sing a soft lullaby
It doesn’t matter if you’re flat-out singing off-tune — your baby loves listening to your voice because it’s the same voice they’ve been hearing since they were still inside the womb. By singing gently to them, your baby will focus on your familiar voice and reassuring touches instead of the other stimulation around them, which helps calm them down.
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2. Hold your baby close
Sometimes, your baby feels scared and insecure when you’re not in their line of vision. This “separation anxiety” can be explained by the fact that babies don’t understand you’re still there even if they don’t see you, up until they’re at least 4-7 months old. That’s why they start crying when they don’t see you right next to them.
You can soothe them by holding your baby close to yourself, best with some skin-to-skin contact so they feel safe, secure, and protected. Besides, your familiar scent is also calming to your baby.
3. Swaddle your baby in a blanket
It’s a similar concept to holding your baby close to you, but this time with another added security blanket — literally. Swaddling mimics the warmth and the feeling of when your baby was still inside the womb. Reintroducing the familiar experience to them outside of the womb is a great way to keep your baby feeling snug and secure too.
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4. Use a white noise machine
Many parents swear by this trick to calm down a fussy, crying baby. Put on a white-noise machine, turn on the vacuum cleaner, or download white-noise generating apps on your phone.
White noise reduces your baby’s fussiness and helps them sleep better because it imitates the sound of blood passing through the placenta while they were still in the womb. In addition, it also drowns out other audio distractions like dogs barking, kids playing, or the doorbell ringing, so your baby doesn’t feel overstimulated in the day.
However, do be careful to keep the volume low and only use it for short periods of time, as prolonged white-noise exposure may actually cause developmental problems for your baby.
5. Gently rock your baby
Another way to soothe your baby is by placing them in a baby sling or rocking chair. The science behind this is that the gentle rocking triggers a calming response in the baby’s brain. Make sure that your baby hasn’t just been fed though, to avoid them spitting up and getting upset all over again.
Photo via Maxi-Cosi
There are tons of baby massage courses and tutorials online with specific techniques that help babies calm down and sleep better at night. The best way of doing this is by first establishing a daily massage routine so your baby knows what to expect and feels safe when you start the massage.
To effectively and quickly get your baby to calm down, use a baby-safe massage oil with a non-irritable scent, like jasmine or lemongrass. TYT Herbal Medicated Oil is a safe plant-based oil suitable to be used as a baby massage oil because it is 100% natural, has no stinging sensation, and leaves no greasy or sticky residue on the skin. It’s best to massage your baby after a warm bath, as the massage helps them to sleep better at night.
Are there any other ways you find effective for soothing your crying baby at home? Let us know in the comments below. You might be helping out a fellow parent in need tomorrow.