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For new parents, a crying child is the greatest challenge and concern because they haven’t learned yet to distinguish between an uncomfortable baby, hungry baby, colicky baby, or just plain spoiled baby. (The spoiled part comes quickly if the child has parents hovering over the crib ready to leap to the aid of this perfect creation if he/she whimpers in their sleep.) A call to your mother can be a grand idea to help you get used to those other cries since she actually has had children, remember? That’s how you got here…

Admitting you may need a break is a good thing. Let grandparents, friends, and family help. A relaxed parent is a better parent since nerves are easily frayed from lack of sleep and the many necessary duties in the first few weeks. While you are soothing the child, you need to feel soothed as well in order to remain calm. If you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by the NEW baby’s needs and those ‘wee hour of the night’ feedings, this does NOT make you a bad parent. On the contrary, it gives you time to catch up on sleep, relax, and do other things such as: laundry, (which will be mountainous in the beginning) make formula for sterilized bottles, etc. This settling in and getting the baby on a routine of their sleeping and waking hours should last only six weeks on average. (If you hover, it will last longer, sometimes years.) This little human being is precious but not as fragile or needy as you may think. Relax, he/she won’t break, nor die if they cry longer than two seconds!

Rocking a baby back and forth in an upright position over the shoulder usually soothes a diaper changed and well fed infant. (Helpful hint: Use a burping towel over the shoulder if you are not fond of upchuck on your favorite shirt or blouse.) Also, putting a baby in an infant bouncy chair can soothe in two ways: It allows the child to set up so they can look about the room, and it can be easily bounced soothing the baby for entertainment or even naps. Sing to your baby in soft tones as you rock or bounce them. They already know and recognize Mom and Dad’s voice from the womb, and they will be calmed by a lullaby.

If your baby is colicky, (Tummy ache) warm a towel and lay it over your lap, then, place the baby, stomach down, on the towel. Warmth will usually soothe a sore or upset tummy. You may rock your knees together back and forth and rub babies back soothingly at this point to assist in comforting the crying child.

If a baby is literally screaming and pulling at their ears, you should definitely call your pediatrician and have the child checked for ear infection or a cold. This is especially true if your child is in daycare and exposed to other children’s potent little germs.

Taking a daytime walk, pushing baby in a stroller, can be very soothing to both child and parents. Weather permitting, this is a good habit to get started early on.

A car ride also can be very soothing because of the rocking motion replicating mother’s walking movement while in the womb, but I don’t recommend making this a habit or you may find yourself circling the block in your neighborhood for hours while the rest of the world sleeps. And, often when the engine is turned off, the baby wakes and starts crying again.

Finally, a pacifier is recommended to soothe the baby’s sucking need while not feeding. And a thumb-sucking baby is a contented baby so leave them be. It is NOT a sin for a child to soothe themselves by sucking fingers or thumb.

When the child is older, having a blankie or favorite stuffed animal is very soothing and should not be taken away unless they want to start first grade with it stuffed in their little backpacks.

Be patient, relax, and enjoy your baby. That in itself will be soothing!

 

 

 

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