We all know babies cry for many reasons. As a proud daddy to six kids between the ages 18 months and 26 years old, I’ve learned a great deal about soothing fussy babies over the years – most importantly that it takes a magic touch.
And, by magic touch, I mean a great balance of confidence, nature, and I hate to say, but just good old fashioned luck. I’ve put together a few helpful tips that have worked for me, and I hope will work for you too.
Meet the Basic Needs: Often times, babies will cry because one of their basic needs is not being met. I always check the basics first: Does Baby have a wet diaper? Is Baby hungry? Does Baby have a temperature? Once you rule out the basics, make sure the baby is swaddled snug and tight, and hold the baby with confidence, so they feel very secure; I hold my baby close to my neck and chest.
Remain Calm: Sometimes it’s hard to stay calm when your baby is crying in your arms and you don’t know why. If your anxiety levels go up, it’s not going to help calm and soothe your baby. Your baby will be able to see and feel your discomfort and possibly become more distraught and upset. Take a few deep breaths and remain calm.
Buy The Tools: I use the techniques given by Dr. Harvey Karp who is the founder behind The Happiest Baby books, classes and DVD. The various holds, sounds, and methods that he suggests will give you an edge on the unknown called “luck”. I have utilized Dr. Karp’s techniques many times as they are tried and true – and bottom line, it works!
Whatever Works: As you know I have six children, and they’re all extremely different. Even as babies, each one responded to different techniques of soothing and calming. I have tried walking in circles, swaddling and reswaddling, putting them in the car for a drive, or the stroller for a walk, pacifiers, blankets, and talking in a soothing voice. However, the four “S’s” as suggested by Dr. Karp are my first line options to soothe my baby, so like I said before – buy his book!
It can be overwhelming and concerning to listen to your baby cry, but sometimes it’s important to do just that. Babies cry differently depending on what they’re asking for or trying to convey, so try to pay attention to your baby’s cry and see if you can’t pick up on the subtle changes and clues. When in doubt, when soothing a fussy baby take a step back, be calm and be patient.
Robert Nickell, aka Daddy Nickell, father of 6, offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddyscrubs.com, delivery room duds and daddy gear for dads, and the Daddyscrubs.com blog where he covers topics about parenting and the latest baby and kids gear, all from a Dad’s perspective.