Our little bundle of joy Miles has had his fair share of fuss-budget moments. The first few weeks were extremely stressful before we figured out how to calm Miles down. I figured as a new mom I would share the top tips we learned for calming our fussy baby. My hopes are that they help some other new mom out there regain some confidence in her mama skills!
I feel the need to state I am in noway a medical professional. The following info is advice that worked for our baby. If you ever feel like something is wrong please call your pediatrician! Also- just a note that if you purchase any products I mention I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Hopefully one or more of these tips are helpful for your fussy baby!
Swaddle Your Fussy Baby
I think all new parents reach a point within the first few weeks where they determine “our baby doesn’t like to be swaddled anymore”. I know we did. The truth is your little one most likely still does! They just take a few minutes to calm down once you have them straight- jacketed. We found this out at about 4 weeks when my mom was over.
Miles was being fussy and flailing around and we couldn’t get him to stop and calm down. My mom explained that before babies have spatial awareness their arms and feet bother them. So she took one of those muslin blankets (the ones I had no use for until this point) and had him snuggled up in 10 seconds flat. It took a few minutes of gentle rocking to calm him down initially, but once his arms were controlled and he wasn’t flailing he chilled right out! I couldn’t believe it!
The takeaway is that sometimes it may seem like your baby hates being swaddled but you might need to change up what you are swaddling in and simply give them a few minutes to calm down before you give up and try something else
Give Your Fussy Baby a Pacifier
We started our journey out with the intention of being a no pacifier household. Then we had the baby and realized this might not be the best option for our sanity. I believe me made it four days before we caved and started using a “binker.”
In the first few days he would only take the pacifier in short, 5-minute intervals. This was just enough time to calm him down though. We discovered we had to gently hold the pacifier in his mouth for him because his mouth/ jaw wasn’t quite strong enough yet to hold it on his own.
We also tried our several kinds of pacifiers before landing on the shape and material that our baby liked. I highly suggest if you are willing to give a pacifier, that you try a few out and see what your baby likes. We use the Itzy Bitzy brand because Miles loves it and I personally felt safe with it.
Give Your Fussy Baby Some White Noise
A lactation consultant explained to me that when baby is developing in utero it is extremely noisy. Baby is hearing all of moms bodily noises ( digestion, breathing, fluid intake, heartbeat) and baby can hear outside noises too (people talking, music, etc). So it is a common misconception that babies need absolute quiet. When in fact babies are used to constant background noise.
Our baby loves sleeping near the fireplace because of the sound of the fire. For nighttime we got a white noise machine because this helps him fall and stay asleep! I love the white noise machine because we can set a sleep timer for it. There are a variety of noises so you can play around and see what your baby likes best. Here is a link to the white noise machine we use.
Another option is YouTube videos of white noise. Miles loves this shushing video for nap time! There are also Spotify playlists that are great for baby! Sometimes we can simply “shush” him to sleep ourselves as well.
Try Putting Your Baby in a Vibrating Chair
For the times when baby is fussy from gas or acid reflex, we found that the little vibrating/ massaging chair was a godsend. We buckle him in and lock the chair so he is sitting up. This way his acid reflex is calmed. The chair has a gentle vibrating setting that seems to soothe Miles and allows us to set him down for some breaks of holding him. Just make sure you are always supervising your baby when you put them down and make sure you check the age/ weight restrictions. Baby safety above all else! Here is the baby bouncer we use.
Try Gently Singing and Talking to Your Fussy Baby
Yes it’s true. Baby loves hearing your voice. Try to keep the tone happy and soothing. I find he absolutely responds to it! The combo of swaddle, pacifier, gentle rocking and me talking to him generally always calms him down when he is tired or cranky for a reason I can’t determine! Also slow, soft singing is great. Don’t worry about the song- baby doesn’t know what you’re singing yet. If you cant think of anything else at 3am- try “99 bottles of beer on the wall.” It literally takes hours to get through and it should do the trick!
Try a More Comfortable Diaper for Your Fussy Baby
I really feel that baby being comfortable is VERY important. I understand that with all the new expenses of having a new family member you might need to purchase the cheapest diapers- which I totally get. Baby does just poop in them after all. However, if you can afford it I highly recommend buying a higher quality diaper. Even if it’s just the first few months or if you use them around nap/ bedtime. I feel that Miles is way happier when his diaper is comfier and it helps him sleep longer versus when we put him in the cheapies! We are a bug fan of the Honest brand of diapers in our house!
Remember to Take a Minute When Your Fussy Baby is Being Fussy.
It’s true sometimes no matter what, you can’t soothe and calm your baby. It happens. You just have to accept it. There are days where it feels like you are holding a screaming infant for hours on end. It’s just part of new baby life. As long as they are fed, in a clean diaper and warm enough- there isn’t much you can do other than try to soothe them.
If you ever feel yourself getting frustrated or upset with your fussy baby- safely put the baby down in a crib or bassinet and walk away for a couple minutes. Take deep slow breathes and grab some water. It can be really hard when you’re sleep deprived to remain calm when your baby is freaking out. I will admit the first day my husband went back to work and I was home alone with Miles I had to do this! Sometimes all you need is a 3 minute break for yourself to re-group and relax. This usually helps baby too because he can definitely sense when you are tense or frustrated.
Give these methods a try and remember you are just getting to know this brand new little person. It’s going to take trial and error! Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment with helping baby calm down! CHeck out our other blog posts on parenting for some helpful tips we have picked up on!