How to Calm a Fussy Baby: 13 Tips for New Parents

how to calm a fussy baby

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Are you worried about how to calm a fussy baby, here are some fingertips for new parents to know. From subscribing to all possible baby-related newsletters to prep yourself for endless diaper changes, we know as a new parent you are giving your best shot. But still, a fussy baby is not a sight you can stop from happening. We do have to bear in mind that crying is the way of communication from our tiny tots. But yes, a fussy baby is not something you can be ok about as each time they cry they are communicating different needs. As new parents decoding this is the biggest task at hand.

Let’s first look into the common situations a baby tries to communicate through fuss.

Why Do Babies Usually Make Fuss?

As crying is their way of communication, let us look into what they might be trying to communicate to us.

  • Hunger

Newborns tend to get hungry in a short span of time. Hence it is important to monitor them to identify the early signs of hunger like the hand to mouth gestures and lip-smacking because the hungry fussy baby is the most difficult to calm. Newborns usually need to be fed at least every two hours. If the hunger strikes too hard they will even refuse to be fed.

  • Wet and Dirty Diapers

Yes, it might have been only a few moments since you changed their diapers. But newborns tend to wet their diapers very soon. The wet feeling irritates them and as an end result here is a fussy baby. So do check their tiny bus next time they start crying because wet diapers also tend to lead to mild fever.

  • Gas

When the babies are continuously fed liquid food, they tend to develop gas. This is because air gets trapped in the intestines leading to stomach aches. This situation can make babies really fussy. To avoid this, after every feeding session, make sure you burp the baby by gently patting it on the back.

  •  Gastroesophageal Reflux

If your baby is suffering from gastroesophageal reflux they will be fussy after being fed. You will notice excessive vomiting or spitting which will lead to fatigue and loss of weight. Under this condition, the baby should be taken to the doctor.

  • Sickness 

As we know that crying is the mode of communication to us. So it is very common to have a fussy baby when they are unwell. Do check for mild temperature and monitor to see if they show any other uneasiness if the tears go on for long. Do consult the pediatrician if the fussiness persists for a prolonged time.

  • Feeling Cold or Hot

Always make sure that you dress them as per the weather. It is always better to layer their outfits which will also help you adjust them as per the temperature change. Make sure to cover them well if the temperature falls. Even feeling hot can irritate them.

  • Bored

Yes, even your little ones can get bored. So don’t forget to entertain and soothe them. Holding them close to you and humming to them is also a good way to calm them.

7 Tips on How to Calm a Fussy Baby?

We all can agree to the fact that a fussy baby is not a delightful sight. Don’t worry, we got your back. Here are tips and tricks for new parents and caregivers on how to calm a fussy baby?

  • Swaddle

Swaddling is a common method that calms a fussy baby. A thin long blanket is preferred for this. The snug wrap around the baby makes them feel safe and secure. Swaddling is a helpful practice especially in the first three months because it resembles the cozy feeling of a womb. Swaddling also helps the baby’s undisturbed sleep routine. you can reach out to your nurse or doctor to ask them how to swaddle a baby if you are not familiar with the technique. 

  •  Rock the Baby

Hold the child close to your body and rock them by moving yourself in a repetitive motion. The warmth of your body and the slow movement tends to calm the fussy baby because this calming motion reminds them of the womb. It makes them more comfortable. If you are opting for a motorized baby swing or a bouncy seat make sure you are well familiar with its functioning to avoid any accidents.

  • White Noise

White noise is the noise that they’re familiar with from the womb. It tends to calm them down due to familiarity. Even the rhythmic sound of a heartbeat or humming sound of the fan can at times do this magic. You can even invest in devices specially designed for white noise.

  • Non-nutritive sucking

To calm a fussy baby, you can encourage them to suck their own thumb. This action is quite calming in nature. This also avoids overfeeding them. You can guide their own thumb to their mouth or even offer your finger. In the case of babies who are well versed with breastfeeding, you can even introduce a pacifier.

  • Front Carrier or Sling

If carrying your baby for a long time is not a practical option, you could opt for a carrier, which keeps the baby close to your body but leaves your arms free. Babies enjoy the closeness and it naturally calms them. You can use the sling even for occasional nursing and reposition it to the side later. While using a front carrier ensure you place the baby with their face towards you. This position gives them a better sense of security. 

  • Get Wet

Fill up the tub with warm water, or even go-ahead to add some bubble bath. Staying in water tends to calm a fussy baby. This can do wonders if you have noticed that your baby, in general, likes the water and is calm during the bath sessions. Making this a part of the routine is also a good choice.

  •  Massage

A gentle massage can be a calming experience for both you and your baby. You can either use their body lotion or any special oil that is suitable for the baby. Massages improve the blood circulation in the body, this increases the oxygen level which helps in bringing the fussiness down. 

  • Colic Carry 

At times when the baby keeps crying for a long period, try the colic carrying technique. This is done by laying your baby on their tummy over your forearm, while their head is held by your palm. Take the support of your other arm and gently rub their back. This puts pressure on the baby’s stomach and helps relieve gas.

  • Take the Baby Outside

Head out with the baby. The fresh air and change of scenery are surely going to divert their attention and help them calm down. The new sounds, smells, light, and even the breeze or sunlight will help us in improving the mood of not just the baby, but will also be a relief for you. 

  • Check for food sensitivity

Do keep track of your baby repeatedly getting fussy after being breastfed. Your diet has a direct effect on the milk, hence tweaking your diet might help in easing discomfort. Try to cut down on animal milk and milk products. Caffeine and other spicy food are also the culprits behind the gas formation. Reducing the consumption of these items can alter milk production for the better.

If you are feeding your baby formula, consult your pediatrician for a different formula. A change might calm the fussy baby. Also, make sure that the bottle used for feeding is in good hygienic condition.

  • Limited Nap Time

Your little one must have set timings for her naps and other activities. But make sure they don’t spend the entire day in the bed because that is going to keep them up all night and bored. By now you know what they will end up doing if they are up and bored. Yes, which is exactly why their daytime naps must be longer than two-three hours. This will help them sleep well at night too. Also when you feed or change their diapers at night, make sure you keep the lighting dim. This will help them understand the change in time.

  • Singing/ Humming

Your sound has a soothing effect on your little one. Repetitive sounds in general have a calming effect on babies. Babies tend to calm down when you hum or sing in a low voice to them. It is also an extra assurance of your presence. 

  • Be Entertaining 

Your little ones can even cry out of boredom. Make sure that you keep them entertained with songs, narrating stories in the most animated way, creating repetitive sounds for them to follow along, and much more interesting activities. These interactions are also a great way for them to pick up sounds and gestures from you. So make the most of it.

When To Call for the Doctor?

If you have tried and tested all possible methods to calm a fussy baby and still the tears are rolling non-stop, it is absolutely fine to reach out for professional help. You can dial up your pediatrician and give the situation a check.

How as a Caregiver to Take a Break?

Endless crying is really difficult to tolerate for anyone, especially when you have been functioning under limited hours of sleep. But it is equally important for you to take a break from the situation. If you have someone else at home, do share the load. Understand and accept that they are equally capable of taking care of your little one. You need that break so that you can be mindful and not too frustrated while taking care of your crying baby.

If you do not have a helping hand at home, feel free to leave the baby in their cradle for some time. They are perfectly safe there. This will give you a breather. 

If the whole situation is being too stressful do not hesitate to call up a friend or loved one who can help you out. And in the long run, taking professional help to ease the stress will also be a point you must consider. 

What Not to Do to a Fussy Baby?

More often to get the situation under control we assume rocking them vigorously and that’s a big no. Shaking your baby vigorously can lead to an abusive head trauma (AHT)commonly also known as shaken baby syndrome (SBS). Strenuous shaking is in general bad for the head, but for newborns and infants is more susceptible to brain damage and it can even be fatal.

Final Thought:

How to calm a fussy baby is a department that has plenty of solutions, but it might not always do the job. Do not blame yourself if you are unable to handle the situation. Just like the baby who is new to the environment, you are also very much new to this experience. Since each baby is unique in its own way, what worked for their elder sibling might not turn out to be a success. So it is very important for you to keep calm to tackle the issue. Babies tend to be fussy about a lot of things and over a period you will be able to understand their needs by monitoring them. It all comes with experience.

How To Calm a Fussy Baby FAQs

1) Why do babies get fussy all of a sudden?

Babies can get fussy for a number of reasons. Hunger, diaper rashes, lack of proper sleep, feeling cold or hot, uncomfortable cloth material, gas, or mear boredom. If the fussiness goes on for a prolonged period do give necessary attention and take action.

2) How to calm a fussy baby at night?

Babies tend to cry more at night, then gently hold them closer to your body. You can hum or sing in a soothing voice in a repetitive manner. These gestures tend to assure your baby regarding your presence and this calms them down. While taking care of them make sure you keep the lights dim and the environment quiet so they understand the difference between day and night. This will help in setting a routine for them.

3) When should we let the babies self-soothe?

Babies do have the ability to soothe themselves. We do usually see them wake up late at night and go back to sleep all by themselves when they are developing this skill. Usually, babies tend to develop this skill from the age of 6 months.

4) Is it ok to leave the baby alone for some time when they are making a fuss?

It is totally ok to leave the baby in a place of your sight or inside their crib alone for some time when they are being fussy. It gives you a break to breathe as a crying baby can be frustrating over a period of time. This also encourages them to soothe themselves. But make sure you do go back to them in some time because the assurance of your presence makes them feel more safe and secured.

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