There is no getting around it, newborns cry and in most cases if the needs of the newborn are met which means they are fed, burped, changed and warm, they will stop crying and fall asleep. However, there are times, when no matter what is done, the tearful infant will continue to wail.
Since the little bundle has no way – or certainly has no intention of manipulating their parents, the constant crying signifies that they are in pain, lonely or require just that little bit extra attention. A baby who is constantly crying (for no apparent reason) can be enough to push their concerned parents over the edge and when crying is added to sleep deprivation or sheer exhaustion, it’s a cocktail for disaster!
If you have covered all the obvious reasons and baby has been fed, burped, changed and does not have any telltale signs of illness (temperature, etc.), here are a few tried and tested ways which weary-eyed parents who are at the end of their tether can use to soothe and comfort baby. These may help parents to get in a few hours of well-deserved sleep before its time for the next feed!
- Use the washing machine or tumble drier – The constant motion that is created by the spinning appliance has helped dozens of parents to calm and soothe their baby. Using a carry seat, ensure baby is strapped in securely and place the chair on top of the machine. The vibrating movements of the machine and the humming sounds will replicate the safe and snug environment of mom’s womb. Remember to hold the seat in place and never leave baby unattended.
- Go for a ride (at night) around the block – or a stroll in the pram during the day. Again, the repetitive motion of the car or the stroller is often what’s needed to gently ease baby into peaceful slumber.
- Rocking – If you have a rocking chair, put to it to good use, by swaddling baby and using the chair to calm the cranky infant. Or place baby in your arms and rock baby back and forth by moving your arms in a rock-a-bye-baby fashion. If you are lucky enough to have a baby swing, try placing baby in the swing and let the swinging movement rock baby to sleep.
- The daddy hug – Dads have stronger, bigger and warmer hands and his warmth and strength are great for soothing a fussy tot. Dads can also place baby on their bare chests, the closeness and warmth may be all that’s needed to relax baby.
- Swaddling – Never underestimate the importance of swaddling. Bear in mind that a newborn has spent months in a tight and constricted space. When a baby is swaddled, the safe and snug environment of the womb is recreated.
- Skin to skin contact or Kangaroo care – Place the naked baby against your own naked skin and cover up with a warm blanket. Mom’s scent and feel is soothing for all newborns. Undressing baby will also give the worried moms the chance to see if there is anything obvious that is troubling baby and the cause of the crying, it could be that the nappy is too tight, etc.
- Bath baby – Even if you have bathed him beforehand, the warmth of the water will help baby to relax. It may be a good idea for mom to bath with baby and take a few moments to unwind.
- The baby massage – Touch is essential for a newborn and by rubbing and massaging their tummies or backs, any trapped wind or air will be expelled – which may be the reason for baby’s discomfort. Ask dad to massage baby, his warm, larger hands are ideal for massages!
- Fire up the vacuum cleaner and get some cleaning done – It may sound strange but the humming sound of the vacuum cleaner is a comforting sound for the fussy newborn. Consider life in the womb, there was always sound – the beating of mom’s heart and the daily sounds were heard as soft, rhythmic hums. Place baby in their carrycot or carry chair and start vacuuming (be sure to check on baby while vacuuming)!
- Ticking clock – Again this goes back to life in the womb. The old-fashioned ticking clock replicates the sound of mom’s beating heart. Try placing the clock in the baby’s crib and gently rub baby, the combination of touch and sound could be what’s needed to calm down the troubled newborn.
- Sing – You don’t have to have a fantastic voice but the sound of your voice and the repetitive tone of a lullaby is music to your baby’s ears. If you’re not up to singing at 2am in the morning, try humming and place baby over your shoulder while doing it. The closeness of mom and the drone of the hum will certainly comfort baby.
- The Kangaroo pouch – Strap it on and walk around with baby. Mom’s movements, her scent, the sound of her heart beating coupled with the snugness of the sling are again replicating life in the womb!
- The dummy – Love it or hate it, the dummy was invented to assist stressed out parents and in many cases a fussy newborn will be lulled to sleep by sucking a pacifier. If baby’s tummy is full, offer them a dummy.
The continuous cries of a newborn baby can wear down the most relaxed of parents! A mother’s hormones are still erratic and the demands of a newborn are great – when mom feels she is close to breaking point, it is often better to take a few moments out, walk away and surrender. Parents need to work together as a team to assist each other in dealing with a fussy and crying baby, or when a mom is home alone with baby, it is suggested she call a friend, or family member and ask for help.
If persistent crying continues, it could be a sign that baby is in pain and a call to a doctor or clinic will ease mom’s concern.