You’ve tried everything. Your newborn baby has been fed and burped. Her diaper is dry. You’re right there with her holding her. You had an appointment at the pediatrician’s the other day and she was totally healthy. So, what could possibly be going on that would make your infant this fussy?
Colic, according to WebMD and other pediatric professionals, is the diagnosis for “any healthy, well-fed infant who cries more than 3 hours a day, more than 3 days a week, for more than three weeks.”
Worse, there’s nothing really to be done about colic except try your best to comfort your newborn baby, and let time pass. Normal onset of this super crying is 2 weeks. It usually passes by 3 months. That’s a long time, and a lot of crying.
Whether your baby’s fussiness fits the description of colic or not it can still be stressful for all of you. To help, here are a few tips and tricks that have worked for other parents trying to calm their crying infants.
Many crying babies find gentle, repetitive movement comforting. Try wearing your newborn baby and taking a quiet walk, or even just gently bouncing and swaying around the room.
Other babies find the movement of the car soothing. Strap these kiddos into their car seats and take them on a comforting car ride.
Some other babies enjoy the back and forth movement of infant swings. Try and see if this works for your fussy newborn.
Too much noise could be the culprit of your baby’s upset. Turn off the T.V. or radio, dim the lights, and see if this type of space doesn’t help your crying baby settle down.
On the other hand, some experts, most notably Dr. Harvey Karp, suggest parents help replicate the womb for newborns by making certain types of white noise. Dr. Karp says
“Recreating the rumbling rhythms of the womb eases your baby’s transition from your belly to the great big world. And not only does your little one enjoy this familiar sound, he needs it! It’s one of the most important triggers of his calming reflex….One of the easiest ways to recreate womb noise is good, old-fashioned shushing—saying a long, loud, drawn-out shhhh just a couple of inches away from your baby’s ear. For some babies, just a few strong shushes work wonders to calm crying. For others, more intense shushing is needed (as loud and long as your baby is wailing!).”
You can also use the vacuum, white noise machine, humidifier, fan, or hair dryer in the room as your baby is sleeping or when you get tired from all the “shusshing”.
Your baby was not able to move much while in your womb. Now he can. That’s a big change and he has to get accustomed to it. Swaddling in a blanket or wearing your baby in a cloth wrap baby carrier can replicate this tight feeling he was used to and make him feel calm and relaxed. Here are some swaddling instructions with photos to get you started.
While you may have checked the obvious things like a wet diaper or hunger, your baby may be feeling uncomfortable for other reasons and crying to get someone to help him out. Some examples include
- Clothing – The synthetic materials may be irritating her skin, a cuff or collar may feel to tight, the tag may be itchy, or other problem like this. If this is the culprit of her discomfort, dressing her in loose, 100% organic cotton clothes may make her more comfortable.
- Tummy Pains – “Gas” or tummy pains are an issue for many infants as they get used to the new sensations of their digestive system. Try massaging their belly or simply comforting her in the other ways we’ve mentioned.
- Diaper Rash – While you’ll usually catch this one, diaper rash can sneak up on you and may even cause discomfort for your newborn baby before it’s visible to you. Other types of skin rashes could be bugging her also. Check her often for red and/or dry patches.
Other sources of discomfort for your baby may include the onset of a cold, he may be feeling too hot, maybe she is tired but can’t fall asleep, or things like this that would also make the rest of us uncomfortable. Although determining what’s going on can be difficult with an infant, it’s miraculous when you’re able to relieve these discomforts and help your newborn baby stop crying.
Hopefully, one or more of these methods will work to calm and soothe your newborn so you and the other members of the family can get some peace as well. When in doubt though, hold your crying baby and try to remind yourself that this too shall pass.
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In her short bursts of spare time she enjoys camping, kayaking, gardening, photography, and writing.
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