Do you have an unsettled, colicky or crying baby?
Here are a few simple techniques you can try to soothe your little one and help keep you both calm.
Sometimes a crying baby can easily be calmed by simple things such as feeding, burping or a nappy change, however there will be times when it seems like your baby is inconsolable and nothing you do calms them down. This could be a sign that your baby is experiencing a bout of colic, but it’s also important to rule out any other symptoms of illness that may warrant a visit to your doctor (such as a temperature, runny nose or any other signs of pain).
If it appears that you simply have a fussy baby on your hands, these simple yet practical techniques may help you calm your little bundle of joy:
1. Swaddle up
Wrapping your baby in a thin, lightweight blanket can help them feel safe and secure. Many parents find that swaddling has a calming effect and can also lead to longer, more peaceful sleep for their little one.
2. Something to suck on
Babies find sucking motions soothing and this can be a simple way to help stop the crying. Help your baby find their thumb, or a dummy, to suck on and see if this helps to soothe them.
3. Hold them close
Similar to swaddling, holding your baby close either by wearing them in a sling or simply carrying them against your body can be very soothing. Hearing your heartbeat and feeling your body warmth can help your baby feel secure and encourage them to relax.
4. Repetitive movements
Many babies find comfort in smooth, rhythmic motions on repeat. Try rocking your crying baby in your arms, sitting in a rocking chair, or taking them for a walk in the pram or drive in the car. When rocking in your arms, try different speeds of motion to see what works best for your baby.
5. White noise
White noise mimics the sounds your baby would have heard in the womb and also help drown out other outside noises. While whooshing sounds may not sound relaxing to you, they are for your baby. If you don’t have a white noise machine handy, try turning on a machine that has repetitive whooshing sounds, such as a vacuum, washing machine, fan, or simply try shushing your crying baby yourself with repetitive ‘shhh… shhh… shhh’ sounds.
6. Sing a song
Sing a lullaby, your favourite song, or even just make something up – your baby won’t mind and the soothing sound of your voice is something familiar and calming for your baby to hear. Singing can also help settle you emotionally and have the effect of synchronicity, where you and your baby end up in the same emotional space. What’s even better, studies have also found that singing to your baby can benefit their cognitive development.
7. Give them a massage
You don’t have to be a masseuse for this one to work. Just a gentle massage on your baby’s back, tummy, arms, legs or feet can be very comforting. Be sure to keep it gentle, but firm enough not to tickle.
8. Wash the tears away
A nice lukewarm bath can help calm your little one and get them relaxed and ready for sleep.
9. Venture outside
Getting out and about might be the last thing on your mind when you’re dealing with a crying baby, but sometimes the change of scenery can be distracting enough to help calm your baby and stop the restlessness. Fresh air, new smells, sights and sounds will do you both good.
10. Keep calm and carry on
If your baby seems to be overstimulated and overwhelmed, take everything down a notch. Draw the curtains, dim the lights, turn the TV or radio off and just be with your baby. If you suspect that your baby may be colicky, practice this technique in the evenings when colic is usually at its peak.
If you think your baby might be suffering from colic, take our colic quiz to find out. If it is colic, Infants’ Friend Oral Liquid has been made using Chamomile, Lemon Balm and Dill Seed Oil – three ingredients traditionally used in western herbal medicine to relieve colic (wind/gas pain), restless sleep and symptoms of indigestion. The Infants’ Friend brand has been used by parents around Australia for over 80 years. To find out more about Infants’ Friend Oral Liquid, click here.