When you are dealing with a fussy baby it can be hard to keep yourself calm to figure out the issue. Adding sleep deprivation and life’s daily responsibilities to the stress can be a very nerve-racking situation. The good news is that when your baby is fussing and crying it is not your fault but a normal part of being a baby. They can not talk to tell you they are hungry, bored, or simply need a cuddle so they cry to tell you something is needed and let you figure it out.
Meet your Baby’s Basic Needs
When your baby is fussy you should go through the list of the basic needs to ensure that your baby’s needs are met. This includes changing your baby’s diaper, checking that they are a comfortable temperature, and offering your growing baby a breast or bottle. In most cases, this will fix a fussy baby that is just trying to communicate basic needs to you.
Sometimes your baby doesn’t have a reason to cry other than they simply want to be close to you. Babies are naturally inclined to want to be close to their parents where they feel safe and warm. The sound of your heart is familiar and comforting to them. This is a biologically normal situation and there is absolutely no way that you can spoil your baby by meeting this need. If you need to get things done with two hands you can consider using a wrap carrier to hug your baby close and secure, close to your heart where they can be comforted while you got things done.
Many babies love a nice tight swaddle because it feels similar to being in the womb. This can be very soothing and the bounding helps keep your baby’s startle reflex from waking them up and scaring them when they manage to calm down and fall asleep. A swaddle can be a bit difficult for new parents to master but there is a wide range of modern swaddle blankets that help reduce the work and make folding the perfect baby burrito in the middle of the night easier than ever before.
For babies movement is comforting. In the womb, every time the mother walks the baby is rocked peacefully. This is why things like walking your baby back and forth, taking them for a car ride, and using an infant’s swing are all so effective for calming a fussy baby.l Your baby sees these movements as familiar and comforting helping to keep them calm in this new big scary world they are in.
Soothing Light and Sound
Babys often cry because they are overstimulated. This is common when you are out and about or have guests over. All of the loud noise, bright lights, and movement of those around them can cause overstimulation. Try dimming the lights and putting on soft music is a great way to calm a baby. If you are away from home try putting your baby in a carrier and tossing on a breastfeeding cover to create a dark cozy space against your chest. These items are familiar to your baby and can help tone down the stimulation from your surroundings.
Check for Gas
Gas can be incredibly uncomfortable and can lead to crying. There are a few tricks you can do to help relieve gas pain to comfort your baby. Try placing them belly down on your arm while you hold them. or lay back in a chair or on the bed with your baby laying on your chest. this puts counter pressure on their little tummy helping to relieve some gas pain and pressure. You can use gripe water or simethicone drops to treat gas and calm a cranky baby if you suspect the fussiness is caused by gas.
Sometimes babies are fussy just because they are fussy. This is often referred to as the purple period of crying and can be completely normal. If your baby goes through this stage hold and cuddle them while they cry so that they know you are with them. This can be great for lung development but extremely uncomfortable for parents. If you need a break, ask someone to come sit and hold your baby for a few minutes while you get away from the fussing so you can come back with a clear calm mind. When our baby is fussy and stressed they do not need to feel your stress which can lead to even more crying and stress.
Take a Step Outside
Sometimes some fresh air and allowing the wind to blow in your baby’s face is all they need to relax and calm down. As a bonus, a little fresh air can be amazing for helping calm and refresh you as well. Try taking your baby outside to pace back and for a bit of providing motion and fresh air.
A fussy baby can be very frustrating because you don’t know what is wrong and have no idea how to help your baby calm down. Please place the baby in a safe spot if you need to walk away for a bit. I get that it is hard to deal with a fussy baby for a long period of time, especially if you are sleep-deprived too. But this stage shall pass and your baby will be back to being your happy, smiley baby.