We all know how distressing it can be having a baby who seems to cry more than usual or who is distressed and unable to be calmed.
Following are some tips on how to deal with your baby when they are upset and unsettled to help keep everyone happy.
If your baby is waking overnight and very upset, they may just need to be fed. In those early months it is totally okay, and necessary to feed your baby. Feeding is also very soothing for babies and so feeding will also calm them if they are upset.
Newborns will also often need to be fed to sleep and that is okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself in these early days. As a baby grows you can start to calm them before they go into their cots.
Having regular day naps helps prevent overtiredness. Babies will cry when they are overtired so getting then into bed sooner rather than later can help reduce this. If your baby has difficulty settling during the day, take them into a quiet room, wrap them and jiggle or rock them in your arms, then walk around the room and singing or shooshing. This should calm your baby enough so they can fall asleep either in your arms or ideally in their cot.
The witching hour is a period, often in the late afternoon and evening, when your baby is very unsettled. And it’s incredibly common. This is probably a result of overstimulation and mum’s milk reducing as the day goes on. Cluster feeding your baby through this period is totally fine and then they will often drop off and sleep well for a few hours. A bath can also help during the witching hour. Not only is it warm and lovely, the floating sensation can help settle baby.
A lot of newborns don’t like having their clothes (or their nappies) taken off, so they will probably cry while this is being done in preparation for the bath. Once your baby is in the bath this can change as they usually find the bath comforting. It is a good idea to make the bath nice and warm and not tepid. Floating them on their fronts can also be very relaxing but ensure you are supporting them at all times and keeping their head out of the water.
When a baby gets to about eight weeks of age, it is a good time to start an evening ritual. This helps the wind-down process and helps them understand that they are about to go to bed. This will reduce the distress a baby might feel if they are all of sudden put into bed without any warning. Try to keep the lighting low and you might find that playing some white noise or music can also help. Baby massage is also a wonderful wind-down tool for babies. And not only that, it can actually also help to soothe your frazzled nerves after a long day!