Small Talk # 4: 7 Useful Tips to calm that fussy little one
Fussy Little Ones!
This is the 4th blog in my ” Small Talk” series aimed at helping new moms and this one gives you 7 tips on how to calm a fussy baby, should your newborn be one of these!
There are calm newborns and there are fussy ones! They are just born that way! However, the fussy ones can drive you, a new mom, to distraction, especially if you are first time mom. My first born was one of the fussy ones and I found that the uncertainty of not knowing exactly what my baby was crying about to be very stressful. Naturally, the more stressed out I became, so the more fuss my little boy made! To try to prevent you as a new mom from being in this circle of stress, here are 7 tried and true tips learned from my own experience with a fussy baby as well as from other moms.
1: A hungry baby is a fussy baby!
Your newborn has a lot of growing to do and needs food in order to keep up with this growth. Your baby’s feeding pattern may change on a daily basis – one day he needs a feed every 3 hours and the next day he suddenly is yelling for food after only a 2 hour gap between the last feed. The best advice here, is to chuck the book out the window and, unless your doctor has advised differently, just feed your baby as and when he demands it! And let him tell you when he has had enough by either pulling away or simply just falling asleep while feeding! Don’t forget to burp him once he is done, otherwise discomfort may wake him up before another feed is needed.
2: Noise soothes a fussy newborn
Your newborn likes sounds. Inside your tum, your baby has heard all sorts of noises, from your heartbeat to people talking, music playing and so on. So, I personally, do not believe in keeping the household quiet whilst baby is sleeping. I’m not advocating sudden sharp sounds, but rather the normal household sounds – the washing machine doing its thing, the radio playing music or mom just making “shhh” sounds as she rocks her baby. There are many cell phone apps nowadays that mimic the “white noise” sounds meant to soothe a baby. Try them!
3: Reflux! How to calm a baby with gastric reflux
That dreaded word. And so uncomfortable for baby. If you suspect your baby has reflux-type tummy pains, rather than lie him down immediately after a feed, hold him in the upright position on your shoulder and rub his back or lie him tummy down along your arm with his head near to your elbow. This is different to “colic” where your baby will pull his/her knees up towards her tummy and cry. With reflux, a baby will generally speaking, arch his/her back as well as bringing up quite a bit of their feed. If your baby truly has gastric reflux your doctor will probably prescribe the necessary medication to help your baby through this painful time .
4: Movement helps soothe the fussy baby
If you walk around the house with your baby or sit and bounce him/her on an exercise ball, your fussy baby may calm down. In the womb, babies are used to you continually moving around and so seem to get comfort from movement once they are born. You could also use one of those bouncy baby seats so that any of your baby’s own movements will cause him to rock, which may bring comfort.
5: The Dummy – babies are calmed by sucking action
Newborns like sucking. Sometimes all the baby wants to do is suck, even though they are not hungry. The sucking action seems to soothe a baby, so why deny him this comfort? Unless you are totally opposed to dummies, they aren’t called “pacifiers” for nothing! You could limit the use of the dummy to only for when your little one is going to sleep so that by the time he/she is a toddler they will know that walking around with a dummy permanently in their mouth is not what is allowed.
6: Swaddling helps calm a fussy newborn
The key to successful swaddling is to have a comfortably tight swaddle, where arms and legs are snugly molded onto baby’s belly. A word of caution here: some babies do not appreciate swaddling! My first born did not like to be swaddled and would really make a fuss whenever I tried this method. It took me a while as a first-time mom to realise that he did not like to be confined in this way!
7: Climate control!! keeping baby warm reduces the fuss
Ever wondered why your baby doesn’t like being changed? Well, its because they object to getting cold! Keeping a baby at the right temperature is very comforting to a baby – after all, he never had to worry about being too hot or too cold in your womb. Now suddenly, he/she is exposed to the outside elements and to make it worse, you are whipping off his/her warm outfit in order to change his/her nappy and he/she can feel that sudden drop in temperature! That being said, it is important to keep your baby’s bum dry and clean to prevent nappy rash. So it is a good idea to keep the house at a comfortable temperature for the baby…even if it feels a bit too warm for yourself….
Sometimes one gets so caught up in one’s baby crying and fussing, and one is so tired from the birth and the lack of sleep that one just cannot think straight. I hope that these 7 tips will help you go from a fussy newborn to a beautifully calm and happy little one and that in turn will make you a calm and happy mom! There IS light at the end of the tunnel as normally by the time your baby reaches 3 months, they have settled into our world and so they fuss less! So hang in there if you have a fussy baby….it will get better!
Any thoughts or comments? Anything you would wish to know? Let me know in the comments section below!
Yours in newborn photography