Baby Care: Comfort Measures
All babies cry because it is the only way they can let us know when they need something. It is important to respond to your baby’s cries as soon as possible in the first few months of life. This kind of attention does not spoil your baby, but lets him know that his basic needs will be met and that he can trust those caring for him. Remember, most babies seem to be fussy at about the same time each day. During this time, nothing seems to calm your baby. The sound of a baby crying can be very upsetting, especially when it goes on for a long time. When you feel overwhelmed, plan to have someone watch your baby for a few minutes so you can get away. Most importantly, NEVER SHAKE YOUR BABY. Remind yourself: it does get better.
To calm your baby, start with one soothing action at a time. If what you try is not working, stop and try a different soothing action. You will probably start to notice what types of things help calm your baby. Here are some soothing actions to try to help your baby calm down:
- Change the diaper, if needed.
- Feed the baby if you think he might be hungry.
- Offer him something to suck (pacifier, thumb, fingers).
- Burp your baby once more.
- Determine if the baby is sick. Check the baby’s temperature.
- Swaddle (wrap) baby in a soft diaper or blanket, making sure his breathing is not blocked.
- Take your baby for a car ride (in a car seat, of course).
- Rock your baby in your arms, a cradle, a baby swing, or rocking chair.
- Walk with your baby upright, with his head on your shoulder.
- Give the baby a warm bath.
- Gently massage your baby’s arms and legs.
- Sing or hum, or play quiet music.
- Turn on a fan or something else that makes a continuous sound.
- Put your baby on your lap, tummy down, and rub his back.
- Cuddle your baby close to your chest and breathe slowly (calmness is catching).
- Try darkening the room, turning down the noise, and putting the baby down or not touching the baby as much.
- Let someone else try to calm your baby or put your baby in his crib for a few minutes.
- Call the baby’s pediatrician for help.