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One of new parents’ greatest challenges can be calming their newborn baby. Although, it may come naturally to some, it can be a cause of great stress to others. The sound of a crying baby creates a physiologic response in parents; it causes their hearts to race, their breathing to become more shallow and even to perspire.
For newborns, recreating the womb-like sensations is the best way to calm him/her. Remember to stay relaxed yourself or pass the baby to another trusted adult if you find yourself feeling anxious, impatient or overwhelmed. Here are some examples:
- Swaddle your baby. A tight wrap helps your baby relax and recreate the close cradle of the womb.
- Shhh… or white noise. The sound of static can help calm a baby; white noise can even be downloaded on iTunes.
- Wear your baby. Being close to an adult, feeling the movement and hearing your voice helps babies feel protected and safe. It’s also easy on the caregiver’s back and body so going for a walk or even doing chores around the house go smoother for both parent and baby.
- Infant massage. Use lotion or oil and touch your baby’s skin gently by stroking outward from the center. You can also do circular strokes on the belly and back. Use gentle essential oils to calm both baby and parent.
- Sway, dance, jiggle, swing. Babies love movement! Sit on a physio-ball and provide a gentle bounce and babies usually begin to relax.
- Breastfeed. The sucking reflex is very calming for babies and nursing is not only food, but skin to skin contact and relaxing togetherness. After establishing good breastfeeding habits, a pacifier or pinky finger in the mouth can also help calm a fussy baby.
- Side lie. Babies enjoy positions in arms and on a surface where they are tilted or laying onto their side.
- Bathe together. Warm water, skin to skin contact and relaxing touch help babies calm down.
Keep practicing these strategies for calming your baby. Pretty soon, you’ll be a pro!