You’re having a baby, and they’re going to cry; that's a good thing! An infants primary mode of communicating their feelings and needs is by using the primal cry of their voice. They exercise this form of communication from the first moments after birth, until they are articulate enough to formulate their needs into gestures and language.
So…how do I make it stop?
First: breath. Crying can trigger an anxious response in mothers (especially, often moreso than fathers; it just seems to be a maternal wiring aimed and nurturing and protecting our offspring.) Approaching our baby with frustration or anxiety will only add to their upset, and nobody wins.
Second: assess. You’ll get better over time, because like any new relationship, you’re getting to your baby, while learning to interpret the cries and cues of your baby, becoming more attuned with each passing day. Some of the most typical reasons for crying in a new infant are: hunger, tiredness, discomfort (a dirty diaper), and pain or sickness (teething or a cold).
So how can you soothe a crying baby who’s needs have been met?
Our favourite resource for baby-calming, is Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s of for Soothing Babies.
Karp believes that the ‘mystery’ of colicy babies isn’t really a mystery at all. He attributes the fussiness of the first three months to what is often referred to as “The Fourth Trimester”, and that babies during this phase of life, are best soothed and calmed by mimicking the environment of the womb. These womb-like, calming sensations are:
Swaddling mimics the compressed and cozy nature of the womb. Swaddling your baby decreases the startle reflex, and helps calm baby enough for the other 4 S’s to be most effective.
Side or Stomach Position
Holding your swaddled baby on their side or stomach, either over your arm or shoulder, is the most soothing position for them to be rocked and comforted.
The womb was not a quiet place! The sound of blood rushing through your body, the hum of your voice and the noises surrounding, all contributed to a fairly noisy environment for your baby to become accustomed to. White noise in their room, or a loud and constant “sshhhh” sound as you hold and rock your swaddled baby, will be soothing to their ears.
Fast, tiny ‘swinging’ movements of your baby mimics the jiggling and moving around they experienced int the womb. While you keep the head and neck supported, you can jiggle the baby in about 1 inch movements while their body relaxes into your arms.
Baby’s are apt to relax from sucking, either from a pacifier, breast, or bottle. If your baby has been fed and you don’t desire keeping your breast in their mouth to pacify them, a pacifier can be the cherry on top to soothe your baby to sleep.
Remember that this will take time…while this method is effective, every baby is different. You WILL learn the subtleties of what your baby prefers and how they respond to the soothing approach you take. Practice will improve your ability to soothe your baby, and remember to always listen to the voice of intuition. You will become the expert on your baby, and nobody else can be that for them.
Check out this link for more information on the 5's and Karps' book, "The Happiest Baby on the Block".