First things first: Get yourself together. ”Before trying any of these tips, the mom or dad must be in a calm frame of mind. If you are not, take some moments to get yourself there: Deep breaths, a little meditation, some self-talk, a hot cup of tea... ” says author and therapist Sharon Gilchrest O’Neill, Ed.S., LMFT.
”If you are stressed or your thoughts are elsewhere, you will have trouble soothing your fussy baby. It is important to be in the moment and to relax with your child,” O’Neill says.
Now that you’re calm and collected, try the following:
There is a reason that swaddling blankets are so popular and hospital nurses love doing it with a standard receiving blanket: Swaddling works. It makes a baby feel safe, warm and loved. And that can totally counteract a moment of fussiness.
Not sure how to swaddle on your own? Yes, it’s tricky, but these days there are so many simple options for easy swaddling like The Miracle Blanket ($24.95, babiesrus.com).
Whether it’s in a rocking chair or walking nestled in your arms, swaying and rocking is a time-tested solution for soothing babies to sleep. The simple, easy motion is comforting to Baby who experienced something similar in the womb. Experts say that any kind of swaying works. ”All kinds of rocking [work]: Swing, rocking chair, cradle, etc.,” says O’Neill.
Sure, ”Call Me Maybe” might make your baby giggle during the daytime, but at night you want her to close those little eyes. Instead, put on something light, soft and soothing to help her fall asleep. Stock your iTunes player with a set of lullabies for these very moments.
When my younger brother was an infant, he would cry every night at 7 p.m. The one thing that soothed him was the bouncy walk — a method of carrying a baby that puts him in a melodic rhythm that makes him want to close his eyes.
Simply hold the baby close and walk with a bounce in your step (up on your toes works best!) until the baby calms down, or better yet, falls completely asleep.
Don’t want to walk? One mom said that when her legs got tired, she used another method. ”A slow bend in the knees worked well until my knees couldn’t take it anymore, so I had an exercise ball that I sat on and bounced up and down. It was the perfect solution,” she says.
It might seem a little cliche, but if you want to soothe your baby, dimming the light can help a ton. While a brightly lit room will stimulate their senses, a dimmed one will be less distracting, helping to lull your baby into a calm and peaceful sleep.
Shay Pausa speaks with author Blythe Lipman on how to interpret your baby’s cry.
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