First Time Parents Guide: How to Calm your Baby from Crying
A crying baby is probably the hardest challenge any new parent must overcome. Calming your baby is not always so easy, but continue reading for my best recommendations and making the most of this situation.
Crying is actually one of the ways your baby communicates - and certainly one of the most effective! As a new parent, you’re never pleased when your baby is crying, because it’s stressful for everyone and you’d prefer for your child to be happy. But this creates a great opportunity (it’s an open door) for you to get to know your baby better and provide soothing in a time of need for them.
Understand why your baby is crying
Crying is a normal part of a baby’s behavior. As your child adjusts to the world and takes in new experiences, some momentary discomfort is bound to result. This provides opportunities for learning and growth and sometimes should be embraced, not avoided.
However, as a new parent, when your baby cries, you should start by eliminating the possibility that something more serious is wrong. But as a rule of thumb - if your baby is two months old or younger and is running a temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, is between three and six months old with a temperature of over 101, or over six months with a temperature over 103, you should take your baby to see a doctor as soon as you can.
If that’s not the case, your baby may have eaten too much, may be hungry, or may be experiencing a food allergy. It may also be time to change your baby’s diaper. Your baby may be too hot or cold or not like the sounds or energy. Your baby may have colic, or simply be under stress and need to release some energy. The trick is to determine patterns and likes over the initial days and weeks.
If you can’t readily figure out why your baby is crying, there are a few simple ways you can soothe your baby. These worked for me!
If your baby is exposed to bright light, try bringing him or her into a dark room. You can also try giving your baby some “alone time” in a crib, away from too much sensory stimulation.
Make sure your baby doesn’t need a diaper-change, and is in a clean environment away from strong smells.
If your baby has been adequately fed and is more than one month old, you can try using a pacifier. If it’s too hot, try placing the pacifier in the fridge or freezer to cool your baby or help with teething.
Rocking or swaddling your baby provides some sensory comfort and relief, as well as a great opportunity for you to bond. Some babies enjoy walks or car rides, too. This was critically important for me - I would use Ruby & Poe’s super soft Sleeping Gowns to soothe my daughter.
Talking or singing to your baby is another wonderful bonding activity and can reassure him or her that you’re there and ready to help. Sound machines can also be useful, especially if your baby (and you!) are struggling to sleep through the night uninterrupted.
Provide support, and stay calm (as much as you can)
When your baby cries, it’s normal to be stressed. But it’s a perfectly normal part of your baby’s growth and development. The more you can accept crying as a normal part of yours and your baby’s development process, the easier it will be to soothe and comfort your baby. Take a moment to enjoy this magical time in your baby’s life - they don’t stay this small forever.