Hey there! If you are reading this post, I am going to guess that you have a new (ish) baby at home or are going to have a new baby. Congrats! New babies are pretty darn awesome. Until they cry. Then they are a pretty darn awesome crying baby. Ugh.
When my kids were little, they were exactly the opposite in temperament. One cried a heck of a lot less than the other one did. Come to find out, this is normal, although I didn’t understand that at the time because the one who cried a whole lot more was my firstborn.
When your first born child is a crier a few things happen. First of all (if you are at all like me), you wonder a lot about things like “Am I doing something wrong?”, “I am a horrible mom, why can’t I get this baby to stop crying?”, and “this is not what I thought having a baby would be like.” Second of all, you spend a lot of time Googling things like “how to stop my baby from crying.” Third of all, you don’t know any different, so when your second baby comes along, and DOESN’T cry all of the time at everything, then you are pleasantly surprised!
You are an AWESOME mama
Right now I need to tell you that you are not a “horrible mom.” You are an AWESOME mom, and your baby loves you more than anything in this world. And I am not just saying that. You are.
Take Care of YOURSELF
Take care of yourself. This means: Eating healthy, taking time to yourself, sleep whenever you can, letting other people help you. Taking care of YOURSELF is SO crucial to getting through this time. If you are feeling ok, then you will be a lot more emotionally capable of taking care of your baby. You will have more patience. Trust me on this. If you are exhausted and hungry, then it will be harder to focus on your baby’s needs. Taking care of a crying baby for several minutes (or several hours) is not an easy task. If you are an introvert or are more sensitive to stimulus (loud noises, touching), then this can be even harder for you! It takes a lot of strength and courage to get through this. Also, if you are struggling with post-partum depression or anxiety a “crier” can be even harder to deal with.
So TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!!!
Asking for help DOES NOT make you a bad mom. It will make you a better one!
Some babies cry a lot more than other babies. Some babies have temperaments that are a bit more challenging. That is just how it is. (I will probably write more posts about this later because it is something that is near and dear to my heart and something that I still have a hard time understanding. But that is for another day.)
Why won’t they stop crying???
So why is your baby crying? Some (usually) pretty obvious reasons your baby might be because it is hungry, tired or needs a diaper change. So these are usually the first things I think about.
But your baby is fed and just woke up a half hour ago and has a clean diaper (and isn’t sick or at least you don’t think so) and she is still screaming. Now what???
Some of these things I learned in training, others worked with my babies. Still, others were tips from some of the moms that I worked with.
15 (Tried-and-true!) ways to calm a crying baby
- Sucking. Many times sucking will calm a baby down. This can be by nursing (but don’t let your baby just sit and suck if they aren’t actually eating because you will get sore nipples!), sucking on a bottle (again, don’t let a baby suck on an empty bottle because it will swallow air). Or you may use a pacifier, or your baby might suck on her hand, fingers, toes, toys, etc.
- Try burping your baby. Sometimes babies get gassy in between eating and being gassy hurts! You can also gently move their legs like they are riding a bike. This can help get the gas moving along.
- Swaddling. Learning how to swaddle your baby appropriately is super important! There are many reasons why you might want to swaddle a baby, and one is to calm it down. Some babies don’t like to be swaddled but the majority of babies that I have seen over the years do like to be swaddled.
- Holding your baby. For most mom’s this comes instinctively, but sometimes it doesn’t. Also, try different holds. Usually, your baby will prefer one hold over another. One of my kids would almost always calm down if I held him like a football with his head (supported) facing away from me.
- White noise. This may be a good time to try running the vacuum, dishwasher or a white noise app. (But sometimes vacuums scare babies too! So this might be trial and error…)
- Go outside or in another room. Sometimes a change of scenery or change of temperature will distract your baby and stop the crying.
- Pet the dog. If you have a pet, show it to your baby. Often babies love animals, and there is a good chance that your pet can cheer your babe right out of a crying spell. I was just watching a friend’s baby, and he LOVED my chickens. I spent about a half hour outside with him just looking at my chickens.
- Bathe him. Some babies LOVE bath time.
- Put him in a carrier. My son spent hours strapped to my chest. He was happy as can be when he was closest to me. Babies feel safe, secure, can hear your heartbeat and can smell you. These are all things that are likely to calm your baby down. BONUS, you might even be able to do a load of laundry!
- Check to see if they are too hot or too cold. So often I would see mom’s who have their baby overdressed. Especially new babies. If it is eighty degrees out your baby doesn’t need three layers of clothes on. They generally need what you are comfortable in plus another layer. I always worried about whether my baby was too hot or too cold. Use your common sense with this one.
- Are they wearing something irritating? Maybe the sweater they are wearing is itchy, or there is a seam or tag that is bugging them. Some kids are a lot more touch sensitive than others.
- Try a game. Some babies can be distracted with games such as peek-a-boo.
- Turn on some music. Many babies love music! Plus if you like music this may make you both feel good!
- Go for a drive. More than once my husband and I have used this tactic. Often baby’s and toddlers will calm down and go to sleep in the car. Or head on over to your BFF’s!
- Lastly, if all else fails, put your baby down in a safe spot and give him a few minutes to himself. This might seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes babies just get too overstimulated and just need a minute or two by himself. He may calm down on his own. But if he doesn’t it will give you a break to get a breather and a snack.
I hope at least something on this list will help! Remember, you are a good mom. Take care of yourself because this will give you more in your emotional tank to take care of your baby.
Don’t be afraid of asking for help. Needing help does not mean that you can’t do it. It really does take a village to take care of kids. I think moms are too hard on themselves.
If you have any good tricks that would help your baby calm down or any other suggestions, please leave a comment. I would love to hear them!