Those first few weeks with a newborn can be some of the most trying times for a new mom. Once you learn how to quickly soothe your crying and fussy baby, you will feel better in no time.
Whether it’s your 1st baby or 4th, you will probably experience some shock when bringing that fresh newborn home. Since no 2 babies are alike, what worked for your previous babies may not quite calm your next one the same.
Both of my 2 children responded differently to several strategies of soothing. My first liked to be held and walked around and my second loved the rhythmic motion of laying in the swing.
Therefore, it’s important to try all of these tips until you find something that works specifically for them.
Even if one of the techniques doesn’t work immediately, come back to it because it may work the next time. For example, my son didn’t like the swing when he was a couple weeks old, but by the time he plumped up a little and fit in it better, it was his favorite place to be.
After you’ve already satisfied the common causes of a fussy baby,
- Diaper change
It may seem like there’s nothing left to try. However, below are some tips that may help your baby to calm if those options just aren’t working.
Tips to Calm and Soothe Your Crying Baby
When your baby was just a tiny fetus in your womb, he was soothed and lulled to sleep by your motions and movements, as well as their comfy position.
Mimicking that same type of environment is crucial to making your baby feel at ease. These tips help to create a similar feeling for your baby that they felt while they were previously in your belly.
Keep Them Moving
The motion of you moving around soothed them on the inside, so it should work while they’re on the outside, as well.
Here are some ways to move them:
- Walk around
- Bounce up and down on a therapy or stability ball
- Rock them while sitting in a glider
- Swing them side to side
- Raise them up and down in the air
- Put them in the stroller and take a walk
As new moms, we tend to keep our newborns cooped up inside for the first few weeks or even months. The thinking is that it’s safer to shelter them than to expose them to any germs in the outside world.
However, if the weather is mild enough to take your newborn outside (not too hot or too cold), some fresh air may be just what they need to calm them down.
You can hold them or put them in a stroller. Birds chirping, wind blowing, and sun shining may soothe their emotions.
Take a Ride
Some babies love the feeling and motion of being in a car. My kids both passed out as soon as the engine would start.
Even if it means just driving around your town in circles, it may be worth it for the peace and quiet. We would just pop in a pacifier and out they would go right out.
Of course, you don’t want this to become a bad habit and your baby won’t calm unless riding in a car. However, whatever helps your sanity during those first few weeks is totally reasonable!
This Brica Firefly Baby-In-Sight Mirror is a fun way to provide your baby with music, lights, and something to entertain them.
This simple way to hold a baby has been tried by many and really works! Watch this video for the specific demonstration.
Simply hold your baby at a slight incline in your arms with their chest facing down to your forearm. Keep their arms folded in at their chest and support their neck with your hand.
Begin to rock them gently as you shake their bottom. It should calm them down quickly.
My kids were always so calm during a nice, warm bath. Make sure you have a tub with an infant insert that they can lay in comfortably. The warm water and slight incline of this tub makes for a great place for a fussy baby.
Shushing, Music, or Sound Machine
Some babies are soothed by auditory stimulation. Whether it’s relaxing lullabies, nature sounds, or white noise, it can’t hurt to give it a try. In the womb, they were also lulled to sleep by white noise sounds made within the body.
Play the tunes through your phone or Amazon Alexa. We keep our Alexa in the kitchen so it can be heard through out the whole downstairs.
Also, I love a simple white noise sound machine, like this one from Dohm. It offers natural white noise that will help to calm your baby and provide sound so they don’t hear extraneous noises that may disturb them.
A lot of moms also swear by the Baby Shusher. Try making shushing noises to your baby quietly in their ear. If they seem to be calmed and quiet by your shushing, you may want to try the Baby Shusher. This tool creates a white noise-type sound that also mimics the shushing sound that mom would make.
Try Different Baby Gear
Many babies enjoy the inclined positioning and gentle movement that most baby gear provides. However, it can be trial-and-error to determine which would work best for your infant due to personal preference.
These items all provide your baby with a safe place to lay and feel safe and secure.
Try some of the following:
Newborns have a tendency and reflex to suck anything that gets put in their mouth (hence why they typically latch onto a nipple immediately after birth). A pacifier is a great tool to satisfy your baby’s sucking reflex and soothe them quickly.
There are a bunch of different types with various shaped nipples, but I am partial to Mam Pacifiers. I found them to be the most adaptable shape to a tiny baby’s mouth and both of my kids loved them.
Possibly your baby isn’t placed in a comfortable position when laying down or even being held. Some infants hate being face up and would prefer to be laying on their belly (with supervision), on their side (propped up with a blanket), or inclined.
There has been a lot of information about always placing your baby on their backs due to the increased risk of SIDS when an infant lays on their belly. However, it can be uncomfortable for newborns to be flat on their back even when in a swaddle.
As long as you are nearby and don’t leave them in this position unattended or overnight, try placing them on their tummies or side for extra comfort during naps (with supervision) and even play time.
You can also try holding your baby face down over your lap or while in your arms. Simply make sure their trunk and neck is supported and cradle them along your forearm or lap with head turned to the side ensuring the airway is open.
Your baby will love the feeling of being wrapped up tightly like a little burrito. This gives them the same feeling of closeness that they felt in the womb while also reducing their startle (moro) reflex.
Don’t waste your time learning how to swaddle your newborn with a blanket. They always just end up breaking free leading to an even more fussy baby.
SwaddleMe Velcro swaddles are perfect for getting just the right tightness around your little one and making them feel safe and secure.
However, some babies don’t like being swaddled with their arms down at their sides and would much prefer to have them a little more free.
The Love to Dream Swaddle Up is an alternative swaddle that allows you to still keep your baby wrapped tight, but not upset that they lost the movement of their arms
Related Post: How I Sleep Trained Both of My Children at 5 Months Old
Massage and Deep Pressure
As adults, most of us love the feeling of a deep massage and rub on our bodies. Babies can also benefit from this feeling.
Try gently applying some pressure as you rub their arms, legs, and back using coconut oil or lotion. You can use 2 fingers (index and middle) on their back and use your whole hand to work out the muscles of their arms and legs.
However, don’t think you have to go too gentle. Firm pressure may be just what they need to have awareness of their bodies.
Watch this great video for Infant Massage Tips.
Your baby could possibly just be bored. In the earlier days and weeks, an infant can’t see very well so they’re probably not too concerned with toys. However, as the weeks and months go on, they do need some stimulation to stay alert and aroused.
Toys that move, make music and noise, or light up can help to entertain your baby. Make sure these items are always readily available!
Check out my full post of Top 10 Must-Have Baby Toys for Your 0-6 Month Old.
You can also entertain and stimulate your baby with just your own face and hands. Some examples below:
- Make large facial expressions
- Sing songs
Related Post: How to Stimulate and Play With Your Newborn
Hold them close or in a carrier
At such a young age, your baby wants to be held tight. You can let them nap on your chest and hold them close as they doze off and fall asleep in your arms.
A baby carrier can also give this effect of closeness to you, as well as being tightly wrapped and swaddled, with a Baby K’Tan wrap. This way you can keep them close to you, but have your hands free if needed.
Check for Medical Issues
Make sure to rule out any underlying causes of your infant’s fussiness. Perhaps there could be pain or a true medical issue that is making your baby inconsolable.
Seek your doctors attention and advice to see if there is a root of the problem. Often it can be corrected if there is an illness or something you may not be able to see clearly yourself.
Some common issues may be:
- Acid Reflux
- Infection or Illness
Gripe Water or Gas Drops have been known to work when the cause of your baby’s fussiness is internal gas that they clearly cannot express themselves. Of course you may not know if they are truly having gas or gastrointestinal (stomach) pains, but if you try it and it calms your baby, there’s your answer!
Let Someone Else Try
If your baby is fussy or crying non-stop, it can be very frustrating for you. Sometimes handing off the baby will help for both you and your newborn.
Walk away and give yourself a quick break. Maybe your newborn will calm down by being in someone else’s arms and you can get a rest to be ready for the next session.