Bringing a new baby home is incredibly exciting, but new parents also face a host of challenges in those first few weeks. All babies cry and some babies cry a lot. One of the biggest tasks during the first few weeks as a parent will be decoding what those cries mean and learning how to stop them. Here are five easy to follow steps to get you started:
Check Baby's Environment
The most common reasons for crying are hunger, soiled or wet diapers, and overheating. When baby starts crying, think about the last time you fed and changed your baby. Make sure to burp baby well after each feeding. Also, babies overheat easily, especially when we layer on clothes and wrap them in blankets. Unwrapping baby may be enough to stop the crying.
If baby isn't hungry, wet, or hot, it is time to try some soothing techniques. Your goal in soothing is to recreate the environment in the womb. Try swaddling your baby with a light blanket to mimic the snugness they enjoyed during pregnancy. Also, white noise, such as a vacuum, hair dryer, or running water, mimic womb sounds and may be comforting.
Remember during pregnancy baby always seemed to sleep when you were active and be awake most of the night? Even after birth, babies are lulled to sleep by motion. Rock in a rocking chair, put baby in a swing, or go for a ride in the car to calm down your little one. Something as simple as walking around the house while holding baby can often do the trick.
Spend Time Snuggling
Nothing makes a baby happier than being close to their mom or dad. Using a sling, wrap, front pack, or other type of carrier will allow you to comfort your newborn and get something done. Baby wearing can take some practice, so be patient with the process. Before you know it - baby wearing will be second nature, and you'll enjoy the freedom that comes from having both hands free.
The world is an over stimulating place for a newborn. Marathon shopping sessions or being around a lot of people can quickly lead to a meltdown. Take baby to a dim, quiet room and talk or sing softly to your baby. The reduced stimuli can restore calm and give you a much deserved break from your normally hectic life.
One very important note
- Know When to Walk Away:Some babies cry more than others, and some refuse to be comforted. Babies with colic can cry for hours every day, and they can be difficult, if not impossible, to soothe. If your baby refuses to be comforted, know your own limits. If you feel angry or frustrated when your baby is crying, lay them in a safe place and take some time to cool down. If your child suffers from chronic crying, ask a trusted friend or relative to watch the baby so you can have time to yourself.
It can be difficult to determine exactly why your new baby is crying, but over time you'll learn how to read their cues. Establishing a flexible schedule for feeding and changing will clue you in to when your baby is ready for a meal or a diaper change. Remember that this is a confusing time for baby as well as you. They have just left a safe, stable environment where they were never too cold, too hot, hungry or dirty. Luckily, babies adapt quickly to life here on earth. Crying peaks around two months then starts to taper off. If nothing else, remember that the crying won't last forever.