What To Do When Your Baby Won’t Stop Crying
As parents, there is nothing quite as heart-wrenching as hearing your baby cry inconsolably. Especially with a colicky baby, new and seasoned parents alike can find themselves overwhelmed or helpless when they can’t seem to calm their baby. Since you’ve probably already tried feeding, shushing or swinging your baby, we’ve put together a list of soothing techniques that parents may not have tried yet, plus tips on how to keep yourself calm during these challenging moments.
Why won’t my baby stop crying?
If your baby has intense crying spells that last more than three hours at a time, on at least three days of the week, for longer than three weeks in a row, they might be suffering from colic. Colic usually begins around 2 or 3 weeks of age, peaks at around 6 to 8 weeks of age, and then usually subsides naturally around 3 to 4 months of age. Since the cause of colic is a mystery, there’s no cure, but you can try various soothing techniques that may help.
Whether you suspect your baby has colic, or they’re just having an overwhelmingly fussy day, here are some techniques for soothing your baby.
Do one soothing technique at a time
If you have a colicky baby, you probably already know about the 5 S’s for soothing your baby: swaddling, shushing, swinging, sucking, and side or stomach lying. However, when parents are stressed and doing all they can to calm their baby, they tend to try all or a few of the 5 S’s at once (think swinging your baby while shushing them as they suck on a dummy). Instead, try to separate these 5 S’s for enough time to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Take your baby out of their environment
Sometimes, your baby may be fussing over something like the lights being too bright or a certain smell bothering them. By simply removing them from their current environment, and moving somewhere, you may help calm them down. A change of scenery could also distract them and help redirect their attention to something else. If you move outside, fresh air and nature could have a naturally calming effect on both you and your baby.
Take on baby wearing
With a fussy baby, baby wearing is something that can provide tremendous benefits for both your baby and yourself. The close physical contact and gentle movement of being worn can provide a sense of security to your baby, similar to what they felt in the womb. Your warmth and scent can help them calm down and stay calm. Baby wearing also allows you to get things done around the house while staying close to your baby. Even if your baby is still crying, you can at least prep meals, do some laundry, or go on a walk, knowing that they’re safe and secure.
Turn up the volume
While your first instinct when your baby is crying may be to turn off loud noises to create a quite space for your baby to calm down, this could potentially have the opposite effect! When your baby was in the womb, they were used to hearing loud sounds as you moved about your day. Try vacuuming, turning on music, playing a white noise machine instead and see how your baby reacts to background noise.
Try a Massage or Skin-To-Skin
Just like adults love getting massages, a baby could also respond well to this calming technique! Doing a baby massage when they’re very worked up, might not be possible, but if they get fussy at certain points of the day, doing a baby massage around this time could help them stay tranquil.
If a massage isn’t working due to fussiness, you can also try to do a skin-to-skin session. Skin-to-skin can lower stress levels in both your baby and yourself, and help your little one feel calm and safe. Even if they’re fussing, it can still provide many benefits that may shorten the crying.
Offer the dummy
If you haven’t introduced a dummy to your baby yet, then doing so could be something to consider when dealing with a colicky baby. Babies have a strong urge to suck, and giving them a dummy can help them calm themselves down and lower stress levels. So even if you planned on not introducing a dummy to your baby, if all else is failing and you’re mental health is being impacted, reconsidering the dummy can be a lifesaver for both parents and baby.
Create a playlist or watch a TV show
Sometimes, when your little one won’t settle, no matter how many techniques you try, you may need to focus on your own calm. Creating a playlist of songs you love or finding a TV show could be great distractions, while you work on calming your little one. The calmer you are, the more chance of success you’ll have calming your little one. But even if they don’t end up calming for a few hours, at least you’ll be prepared with a nice distraction.
Take a break
When you’re a couple hours into a crying session with your baby, remember that it is okay to take breaks. Simply place your baby in their cot and walk out of the room to gather yourself and take a breather. After you take a few moments for yourself, you can resume trying to calm your baby. These little breaks won’t do any harm to your baby, and they’re super important for your own mental health.
Especially if your baby has colic, building a strong support network is crucial as there may come times when you need to have someone come over and watch your baby while you go into another room or get out of the house. There are also many online support groups for parents with colicky babies. This may be a great way to connect with parents who are experiencing the same issues you are.
Soothing a crying baby can sometimes be a lot more difficult than it sounds. When the swaddling, shushing, and swinging doesn’t help, we hope this list of tips and tricks can help you find another technique to try, or provide you with some ideas to keep yourself calm.