Regardless of how it may feel in the wee hours of the morning to a sleep-deprived parent, your baby does not have an ulterior motive to keep you up all night and make you miserable. It’s more like that she just doesn’t yet know how to handle a situation and is not able to express her frustration in any way other than crying through the night. Here are some tried and true techniques to calm your fussy baby, though you should keep in mind that all babies are different. If something on this list doesn’t work for you, keep trying other things that you think are soothing.
1. Burp! – Sometimes a baby just has a little bit of built up gas that he didn’t get rid of the first time you burped him. So, pick him up and try to get him to burp. If you had to burp and couldn’t, you’d be fussy too!
2.Swaddling – Your baby spent nine months in a confined space and might be missing the simplicity of it. Swaddling your baby can create that same closeness that she is longing for. It is also suggested that you warm up the blanket by throwing it in the dryer for a few minutes to create another soothing effect for your little one.
3. Rock-a-Bye Baby – There is a reason that rocking chairs are still a popular furniture piece in a baby’s room; they work! The back and forth motion of the rocking chair will help calm your baby. A mixture of rocking and singing soft lullabies can put him in a peaceful state of mind. If you don’t have a rocking chair, but you do have a baby swing, put him in there for the same gentle swaying motion.
4. White Noise or Soft Music – If you live in a noisy neighborhood or have pets or other children that may be on the wild side, consider setting up a small fan near the baby’s crib to turn on at night to drown out that extra noise that might distract from a good night’s sleep. Soft music is another way to get baby sleeping well. Be sure the music is almost too low to hear; otherwise, it may be just as distracting and disturbing as the outside noises you’re trying to drown out.
5. Baby Massage – Think back to your most difficult day. Doesn’t the idea of a massage make you squirm in anticipation? Your baby may be under stress that you’re just not aware of, so give him a little baby massage to help soothe his mind and body. Just a simple, light rub down can change the mood from fussy to sleepy.
6. A Breath of Fresh Air – Sometimes taking a walk outside to get a breath of fresh air is all you need to calm down and relax. The same goes for your little bundle of fussy joy. If she’s crying and nothing else is working, step out the door with her in your arms and take a quick walk around the block. The fresh air and the movement of your steps (or the feel of the stroller) could rock baby to sleep again.
7. A Bouncing Baby is a Happy Baby – Whether it’s an exciting game of bouncing or a steady, soothing bounce, your baby will enjoy the movement and change of pace. Walk around the baby’s room while bouncing right along with him and he will forget what he was crying about and enjoy the fun of it.
8. Fish Tanks and Lava Lamps – There is something about a fish tank and a lava lamp that distracts and soothes at the same time. The gracefulness of the fish floating around the tank combined with the gentle sounds of the bubbles floating to the surface has been known to soothe even colicky babies. Lava lamps have the same concept without the noise of the bubbles. The movement of the bubbles inside the lava lamp and the colors within it has a calming effect on adults as well as children.
9. Go for a Drive – Not an escape, mind you. Going for a drive is one way to calm yourself as well as your baby. Most babies are soothed by the noise and movement of the vehicle. So, strap them into their car seats and take off. Chances are you will only have to travel a few blocks before Mr. Fussypants is sound asleep in the backseat.
10. Vacuum – A similar concept to the drive around the block, holding your baby while vacuuming can have the soothing effect you’re striving for. The noise and the vibrations will lull her to sleep, and you’ll get some of your chores for tomorrow done in the process. However, if your baby does not like the noise of the vacuum cleaner while she’s awake in the daytime, it may only upset her more at night.