11 Ways to Soothe an Extremely Fussy Babyby Elizabeth MacDonald
The witching hour typically last 1-3 hours and is described as the time when nothing will console a baby, but there are definitely a few tricks you can try!
11 Ways to Soothe a Fussy Baby
#1 Always Look for a Physical Solution. Strip your baby down naked and search for a hair wrapped around a toe, finger, the penis, etc. Look for anything that may cause pain.
#2 Shower or Bath. While a bath alone in the sink may work, the best idea is to stand under the shower or get into a warm bath tub with your baby. Dim lights, soft music (or white noise), and your heartbeat may help calm your baby.
#3 Skin-to-Skin. This great big world is overwhelming. Perhaps, at a certain time each day, your baby just has had enough. Maybe she wants nothing more but to be back in the womb where it was quiet, warm, safe, and close to you. Strip down from the waist up and hold your baby chest to chest – skin to skin. You may sit in a rocking chair, lay in the bath tub, walk the house (or the backyard), but try to push away all other stimuli and focus on letting your baby hear your heartbeat and voice – and smell you.
#4 Babywearing This goes along with the skin-to-skin. Proper babywearing creates an out-of-the-body womb experience. (My personal favorite carrier for the newborn stage is a ring sling for creating the easiest, fastest, and most secure hold on your baby.)
#5 Fresh Air. Walk outside and breathe. This should help calm your emotions as well as your baby’s. You can hold, bounce, baby wear, or push the stroller for a while until everyone calms down.
#6 Comfort Nurse. Cluster feeding is common in the evenings, and if this need is not met, an infant may become extremely emotional.
#7 Bounce on a Workout Ball. There is something about the fluid motion of the exercise ball when you bounce on it. Swaddle or wear your baby as you bounce or sway gently.
#8 Swaddle and Squat Again, swaddle or wear your baby as you stand with legs wide. Quickly bend your knees into a deep squat and stand back up. The dropping motion can help change a baby’s mood and then you can try other suggestions to keep him from spiraling back into the endless crying.
#9 Pacifier A baby who is already crying may not take a pacifier. Some babies won’t take one at all. If your child does take one, offer it after breastfeeding and burping. The first signs of fussiness may be soothed by the pacifier and then you have the opportunity to work on helping prevent the witching hour by immediately jumping into the bath, wearing your baby, or trying one of the other suggestions.
#10 White Noise. Blow dryer, sound machine, vacuum cleaner… Set your baby in the infant swing on high next to the washer or dryer. Try not to overcomplicate or overstimulate your baby further, but find a way to play white noise. Evaluate the environment and work on making it as calm as possible. (This includes your nerves and emotions.)
#11 Put Your Baby Down. It is always better to set your baby down in a safe place if your emotions are getting the better of you. Some babies just need to be set down. There is no guilt to be felt at this point. If you safely set your baby down (in her bed, swing, bouncer, etc) and she continues to cry for an extended time, then start trying these techniques again.
End the Fussiness
Heal the Gut. The gut is linked to the skin, the brain – the entire nervous system. If the bacteria of the gut are off balance, there can be inflammation that can cause pain, rashes, and so many other problems. Healing the gut takes time and effort, but the end results are worth it. (A breastfeeding mother will need to heal her gut to help her baby. A formula fed infant could be suffering because of the formula he is consuming.)
More Sleep. Your baby may be overtired. An overtired baby has a harder time falling asleep than one who has napped throughout the day.
Routine. Babies thrive on routine. I am not talking about timed or scheduled feedings. I am not talking about letting a baby cry-it-out. I am not talking about a date book color coded by hour. I am talking about a sequence of events that occurs in a way that a baby becomes calm and tired. There are many ways you can achieve this: bath, massage, book, and bed… bath, rocking, nursing, bed. You just want to make sure it is a calm, dark, cool, environment, and that the routine is begun well before the nightly crying typically begins.