They say the days are long with children, but if you are dealing with a fussy baby, they can seem even longer! One of the most challenging aspects of having a newborn is their inability to verbalize what is bothering them. It is made even more challenging because, as parents, we want to help our little one by fixing what is wrong and making it better!
Read on for FIVE tried and true ways to soothe a fussy baby:
1. Decrease stimulation - Just like adults, babies can become overwhelmed. Too much stimulation is not good for anyone; especially newborns who are used to being alone in the warmth of their mother’s womb. So what can you do? Try creating the most Zen atmosphere possible for your fussy little one by turning off the TV and dimming the lights. And keep in mind that the later in the day it becomes, the higher the risk of over-stimulation.
2. Get outside – Listening to a baby fuss and cry for hours can make even the most patient person break. As the weather starts to get nicer (Hello, summer!) take advantage of it and make the weather work in your favor. Both parents and children will benefit from stepping outside and getting a bit of fresh air. Try taking baby outside for a walk, or enjoy some quiet time in the patio; it really helps to clear your mind! Exposure to sunlight in the late afternoon and evening may also help both baby and parents sleep better at night (bur remember to use your sunscreen)!
3. Prevent the overtired state – Remember, our number one goal, no matter the age, is always to prevent our children from becoming overtired! Children who are overtired have a harder time falling asleep, staying asleep, and tend to fight sleep more. Watching the amount of time baby is awake between naps and bedtime will help prevent little ones from becoming overtired. Keep in mind that a newborn’s wake windows start out very short and get longer as they get older. For a great resource on the correct amount of time in-between periods of sleep, check out my waketime cheat sheet (LINK HERE).
4. Ask for help – As parents (especially first time parents) we have this inner need to do everything ourselves once baby arrives, otherwise we feel like we are failing. The truth is, there is strength in admitting you need some help and can’t do it all on your own. If your fussy baby is causing you to feel stressed and overwhelmed, the best thing you can do for both you and babe is to reach out and ask for help. Remember, your baby is sensitive to your stress and this will often increase their fussing!
5. Use all your resources safely – Sometimes the only thing you can do to soothe a fussy baby is pull out all the stops! This may mean offering them a pacifier, wearing baby in a sling, using the stroller, putting them in a swing… whatever the trick may be, you just have to do it! If laying baby down seems to be the solution, remember that safest place for your baby to sleep is Alone on their Back in their Crib (ABC’s of safe sleep).
When it comes to parenting, we all have days we feel overwhelmed. Just remember, tomorrow is a new day and with it, a fresh start!