My daughter Brianna was a screamer. In contrast to her older sister, she cried during the first six months of her life. She screamed when she was bored, when she was tired when she was wet, and when she was hungry. It wouldn’t take her more than 5 seconds to change from a sweet cherub to a hot mess. She would flail her arms, arch her back, and her face would turn red. I tried my best to soothe her with hugs, diaper changes, and nursing – all to no avail. Result? I would end up in tears too. The feelings of being overwhelmed consumed me, and worse, I thought I was failing at the fundamental task of mothering – the ability to make my child comfortable.
For new parents, identifying what every crying indicates may be frustrating, challenging, and downright scary. If they are not able to pinpoint the reason immediately, they get frightened up to the point that they start to think that their baby isn’t physically fit. The parents feel powerless due to their inconsolable little ones. This may be quite distressful for women who felt in control and competent in their pre-mom life. The good news is: you’ll eventually get better at responding and interpreting the cries of your baby. Until then, act on the tips below to ensure that your baby remains calm because, certainly, a baby cries when put down.
Turn the tunes up
Don’t limit yourself to lullabies. Try all different songs and genres, including what you love.
This works because, similar to movement, music has the ability to calm the nervous system, decreasing a respiratory and heart rate of a baby.
Play it back
When my children were babies, I would usually record them crying and fussing on the phone and let them listen to it later. I thought the sound of a crying baby really fascinated them.
This works because, sometimes, babies get so distressed that it becomes very difficult to calm them, even after the offending agent like a dirty diaper is taken care of. They literally stuck in an endless cycle of crying. However, a surprising distraction like a voice recording of themselves may jolt the babies out of what was initially upsetting them.
Do the Shoosh-Bounce
Rock your munchkin in a carrier and repeatedly shoosh in her ear. I used to put my little one in a sling and bounced her all over the block, the apartment, and even the city. I cleaned and cooked while swinging her back and forth.
This works because a calming response is triggered in the brain of an infant when being rocked or carried, causing the muscles to become more relaxed and the heart rate of a baby to slow.
Change the scenery
I used to sense when my fussy baby was under stress. That’s why I realized it was time to hand her off to my grandma or husband. If she couldn’t change caregivers, she would move to a different environment. Going from the nursery to the kitchen or patio was sometimes enough to snap her out of the crying spell.
This works because a new location to focus on maybe everything that a baby needs to transform her mood.
Make some noise
This is another trick that parents swear by turn on white noise. Try a vacuum cleaner or a fan, download an application or use a white-noise machine.
This works because sounds such as these imitate what an infant hears when it’s in the womb as the blood of mom passes through the placenta.
Put out lights
When my baby would get overstimulated, I used to put her in a completely dark room. It was the most effective way to calm them. Often, I’d put the blackout shades down and put them in the swings along with a pacifier. The swings will offer them the sensation of rocking in our arms, enabling them to be out like a light in just about 5 minutes.
This is because it’s very easy to overstimulate babies with all the lights and noise of everyday life. After all, newborns are used to the dark, quiet confines of the womb. If you block out every stimulation, they will finally be at peace.
So, next time your baby screams when put down, you know what you need to do!