New babies are so exciting. There’s nothing like a new life, that baby smell and tiny baby clothes. But once the “newness” has worn off and reality has set in, you are often left with a sleep deprived mama, and a fussy baby. Even the most easy going infants have moments of fussiness, and it can be stressful, exhausting and sometimes even scary trying to figure out why your new bundle of joy just doesn’t want to calm down. While the reasons your baby is upset can be endless, we’ve rounded up some simple and helpful ways to calm a fussy baby that we think are definitely worth giving a shot.
1. Make Sure Baby Has A Full Timmy
One of the easiest ways to eliminate fussiness in a baby is to make sure they’ve eaten and have a full tummy. Of course, this can be a catch 22 if your new bundle of joy has colic, digestive issues or trouble nursing. For my daughter in particular, she fussed constantly, even after long nursing sessions. When we gave her a bottle, she sucked it down right away and was almost immediately happy. Apparently, she just wasn’t getting enough at the breast and was seriously hangry. While not all babies fuss because of hunger, it is super common and worth a feed to see if it reduces your little one’s unhappiness. If you formula feed and have a particularly fussy baby, consider switching your formula (with your doctor’s permission and help) to a gentle formula that reduces gas. Once we switched to formula feeding in our house, finding a sensitive formula was a game changer!
2. Try the “5 S’s” From “The Happiest Baby On The Block”
When I was pregnant, I read Harvey Karp’s famous book, “The Happiest Baby On The Block,” and I always recommend to my friends to do the same. It’s a very simple read that is packed full of information, and there’s also a DVD which I’ve heard is extremely helpful (though I myself haven’t watched it). Karp’s method is based on implementing 5 common actions to soothe your fussy baby: swaddling, placing your baby on their side, shushing, swinging and sucking. The biggest emphasis is placed on swaddling first, because it gives your newborn a sense of security that mimics the feeling of being in the womb. Now, we know not all babies love being swaddled, and that’s why there are 4 more S’s that almost always work in some form. You don’t need any special equipment and even in a sleep deprived state, you can usually remember a few of them!
3. Get A Change Of Scenery
Sometimes your fussy baby just needs to be distracted, and changing rooms or getting outside can be just what they need to get out of their fuss rut. Physically move your baby into another area of the house that looks and smells different, or strap them into the stroller or baby carrier and head outside for a walk. To be honest, this is just as much a benefit for YOU as it is for your baby. I know first hand how stressful it is to have an incessantly screaming baby and even tiny babies can pick up on a stressed out mama. Do yourself a favor and get outside! If you don’t want to go for a walk, strap that baby in the car and go for a ride. Any change of scenery will do you both some good.
4. Try “The Hold”
Several years ago, Dr. Robert Hamilton of Southern California grew to fame when a video of him implementing “The Hold” was splashed all over news outlets. I’m sure tired parents everywhere accounted for the majority of views and it’s no wonder. Hamilton effortlessly shows us how to take a baby that’s fussing and quiet him within seconds just by holding him a certain way.
5. Eliminate Gas
Gas is one of the biggest reasons for a fussy baby. Your little one is so new to the world that they aren’t use to the way their bodies work to process food and that can lead to painful tummy aches. There are many ways to help prevent and get rid of a gassy tummy. If you nurse, make sure you are avoiding foods that tend to give gas, like broccoli and even dairy products. If you are formula feeding, find a sensitive stomach version like we talked about above. If baby is still fussy, I’ve heard the use of gripe water, probiotics and even medicinal gas drops that are approved by your pediatrician also work. It’s also helpful to massage baby’s tummy and to move their legs in and out like they are “running” to help move gas along.
We know there are TONS of reasons your little one can be fussy, and even more ways to solve them. We hope these quick ideas help calm your little one and bring you a little peace (and quiet).