When a baby cries, it usually means that he or she is hungry, soiled, or uncomfortable in some way. Because it's a baby's only way of letting you know that your attention is needed, crying at regular intervals is completely normal. Some babies, however, may cry a lot more--and after being fed, changed, or otherwise attended to, the baby may continue to cry. Babies who cry frequently or for extended periods of time may suffer from colic--a condition that most medical professionals believe is a direct result of pain or discomfort in the digestive system. If you have a colicky baby and need some ideas that might bring some much-needed relief to your little bundle of joy, here are 8 things you can do that are known to sooth even the loudest of cries.
Give Baby a Pacifier
One of the easiest ways to soothe a baby is to give him a pacifier. A baby's instinct is to want to suck--and offering your little one a pacifier might be all you need to do to calm him down.
Provide White Noise
White noise if often used to calm down a colicky baby and since the sound resembles that of the ones heard in the womb, it's definitely worth a try. A fan, clothes dryer, vacuum, or a radio turned to pure static can simulate a womb-like atmosphere that your baby may find to be very comforting. You can even purchase an electric sound machine with a white noise option to be kept in baby's room if you find that this sound does the trick.
Burp Your Baby
If your baby seems to have more gas than usual, try burping him. The more a baby cries the more air he swallows--and this can lead to some serious discomfort. Try gently burping your baby when this happens as a good burp may provide some instant relief.
Sing a Lullaby
If your baby won't stop crying, try singing him a soft lullaby. The sound of a familiar voice can be very soothing to an upset baby, so learn some tunes that you can coo to your little one.
Take Baby for a Ride
Movement can do wonders for colicky infants. Like sound, movement can simulate motion experienced in the mother's womb, and this can be very comforting, indeed. Take your baby for a walk holding him close to your body in a sling or baby carrier, put him in a stroller with soft rolled-up blankets placed snug around his body, or go for a car ride. Sometimes the low humming sound of the motor accompanied by some soothing music from the radio will help baby drift off into a peaceful sleep.
Some colicky babies respond very well to swaddling. Being wrapped snuggly in a familiar blanket keeps your infant from accidently scratching or hitting himself with flailing arms, something that happens a lot when babies are crying hard. The tightness of the blanket also mimics the safety felt inside the mother's womb, and this can calm a baby very quickly. If you don't know how to swaddle your baby, ask your baby's pediatrician for some tips to help you do it properly.
Give Baby a Bath
A nice, warm bath is another great way to help your baby relax. Fill your baby's tub with warm water and use a soft washcloth and baby-friendly soap or shampoo to gently wash him. Be sure to test the temperature of the water before putting your baby in the tub, and never leave him unattended in the water. After the bath you can follow-up with a soothing baby massage. The tender touch of a loving parent can be very comforting to a crying infant.
Ask for Help
If you've tried everything you can think of to soothe your baby and he's still crying, don't be afraid to ask for some help. Sometimes a change of hands is all that needs to happen to calm down a baby. Your baby's senses are very keen, and maybe after some long cries he's picking up on the fact that your tension is rising. Ask a spouse, family member, or friend to hold baby for a while so that you can take a little break and calm yourself down. Once you're able to relax and relieve some stress, you'll be better equipped to help your baby do the same.
When a baby has colic, it can be stressful trying to figure out what to do to help. Give one of these suggestions a try the next time your baby doesn't stop crying. One of these simple yet tried-and-true tips might be the ticket to a much happier, calmer baby.