CSP Spotlight: Techniques to Use When Your Baby Cries

These are techniques to use when your baby cries, but they are also preventive tools to keep your infant from getting over-stimulated all day long.

  1. Hold or wear your baby

...as much as you can. As Dr. Sears says, “In counseling parents of fussy babies, we strive for two goals: to mellow the temperament of the baby and to increase the sensitivity of the parents. Babywearing helps foster both of these goals. By creating an organized, womb-like, environment, wearing lessens a baby’s need to cry." An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  1. Swaddle your baby.

Most newborns like to be wrapped securely. It reminds them of their snug womb. I hasten to add that as always you should listen to your baby, since there are babies who don't like to be swaddled. And of course as babies get older they need to move, so you'll want to swaddle only for sleeping, and only then if it helps the crying.

  1. Rhythmic motion:

Again, reminiscent of the womb. Rocking works for some babies, but most of the time when they're upset, more intense motion is called for. Some parents swear by baby swings or baby hammocks, others by putting the baby in a car seat and driving. But they don't work for babies who need to be held at the same time that they're moving. Some parents dance, some go up and down steps, some jump on mattresses, many develop the bobbing, swaying motion I call the Mom's dance. Experiment to see what works for your baby.

  1. White Noise:

Soothing sounds can muffle or block out the jarring traffic horns or even voices that can jangle and over-stimulate baby nerves. I found new age chanting to be effective, some people swear by their vacuum cleaner or white noise machine, others just whisper repetitive shushing noises. The sounds should not be loud enough to shock or scare your child into silence. Just provide a soothing, calming, repetitive sound.

  1. Nurse your baby.

For some babies, nursing is a guaranteed instant soother. Why work any harder than that if you don't have to? And, for the record, babies fed on a schedule are more likely to have colic. Feed your baby whenever he or she asks, and colic is less likely.

  1. Explore other "cures."

Some moms swear by infant massage. Some babies have food allergies, and if you change the formula, or if the breastfeeding mother changes her diet, the crying stops. Often a diet free of cows milk, wheat, or other common allergens is a miracle cure. Every parent of a colicky baby should try probiotics, as mentioned above.

If you try all these suggestions and your baby keeps crying, by all means talk to your doctor, and keep asking the parents you know what worked for them. And hang in there. Sooner or later, your little screamer will be a perfectly charming baby.

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