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What To Do With A Crying Baby - From a Postpartum Doula

Babies can be tricky. Just when you've figured it out, you haven't. Unfortunately, they don't come with manuals, nor can they talk. So, They Cry. A lot sometimes. And some of those times there doesn't appear to be a good reason for it either! It's easy to get frustrated, and feel overwhelmed. But take a deep breath, and know you've got this!

Here's what this postpartum doula has to say about handling a crying baby.

Make Sure They're Fed, Dry, and Safe/Healthy

This can seem a little obvious. But make sure they're alright and their needs are met! After you've fed them and changed their diaper, do a head to toe check. Check in all of their little rolls for any rashes, or other signs of illness/injury. Check fingers/toes for string or hair that can get wrapped up. You can even strip them down to do this if needed. We never want to soothe a baby that's trying to tell us something is wrong! Take an opportunity to look them over! And listen to your gut! If anything seems amiss, call your provider!

So assuming they're healthy, all Physical needs are met, and they're just having a rough day, here's a few ideas to try!

The 5 S's

These tools are taught a lot in the baby care industry. But this is because they're good! But also know, you don't have to choose just one! Mix and match to find what works best for your baby.

  • Swaddle - this can be a blanket, scarf, or fancy swaddle you've purchased. But wrapping them up snug reminds them of their home in the womb, which can be really comforting for some babies!

  • Side - So this isn't for sleep. Safe sleep has babies on their back, but this is for when they're being held! So hold them on their side, or on their bellies!My favorite is to tuck them under my arm on their belly like a an adorable little football!

  • Shush - This doesn't have to be you doing this! A white noise machine, or even radio static can do the trick.

  • Swing - either in a baby swing, or rocking in a rocking chair can get this effect.

  • Suck - this one is huge! Babies love to suck for comfort. This can be breastfeeding, a paci, a thumb, or even one of your fingers.

Skin to Skin

Skin to skin contact releases oxytocin, which is a very calming hormone! This can be done in a variety of ways! Plus, it can be done with anyone! Your partner, other children, or even childcare provider can utilize skin to skin for comfort! You can go all out, where both you and baby are stripped down, or it can be just having their cheek pressed against yours. Find what works best for you. A few other ideas to try are:

  • Hop in the bath or shower with your baby!

  • Wear your baby in a carrier with both of you topless.

  • Wear a zipper jacket or button up shirt so you have easy access for baby to lay their face on your chest

Change of Scenery

Sometimes something as simple as walking into a different room can help a baby forget why they were crying! Babies can get bored, especially as they get older! So move them to a different bouncer, try a different position, or just go to a different room of the house.

Take Them Outside

But it's winter; bundle up and go outside. It's too hot; sit in the shade for a few minutes. It's the middle of the night; still, go outside. In the rain? Use an umbrella, or sit on the porch. There is something magical about taking a fussy baby outside. It's always my go to when nothing else seems to be working! Even if it's just for a few minutes, some fresh air can really help lift the mood of both you and baby!

When All Else Fails

Take a break. Having a baby that cries a lot is so hard. It is more than ok to take a break. Even if that means taking a break while baby is crying. If you're getting overwhelmed, and feeling the need for a reset, try this:

  • Put the Baby somewhere safe. A crib, bassinet, or with another trusted person.

  • Leave the room. Even if the baby is still crying.

  • Set a timer. 3 minutes a good place to start. If you need a little more time, that's fine too.

  • Do something to calm yourself. Splash some water on your face, write in a journal, or do some deep breathing or meditation. You can even have some ice cream if you want.

  • Go back to baby, and act as if you've never met them before. Marvel at how cute they are, kiss them, and snuggle them as if they're they best thing you've ever seen.

  • Then just keep on moving forward. These days are so hard, but they don't last forever.

  • Get some help. Even just having some company who doesn't mind a crying baby can be refreshing, and might even give you an opportunity to snag a shower, or hot meal!

When To Call A Provider

Whenever you feel the need to! Mom's brains are primed to connect and protect their baby! If something feels "off", even if you don't see something specific, you can call your provider. If you truly feel something's wrong, and you're not being heard, see a different provider. A fussy baby can be caused by a myriad of things like food allergy, GERD, oral restriction, or other underlying conditions and illness. So it is never a wrong thing to get some help from a medical provider! Even if it's just for peace of mind that there isn't something serious affecting your baby!

What tips worked for your baby?? I'd love to hear, put them in the comments below for other parents to give them a try!

This post is not intended to replace advice from your provider.

Please contact your provider with any medical concerns.

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