Despite everything you’ve done, you still cannot get your newborn to settle down. She’s arching her back and fussing. Sometimes there are tears and other times not. You’ve fed her and she calmed while eating, but then continues to fuss. Although you have rocked and changed her, nothing seems to be working. My baby is fussy; why won’t she settle!?
Take a deep breath; you are doing everything right. Babies crying is normal. Here are some ways to help your newborn feel more at ease or even fall asleep.
My Baby Is Fussy, Why?
Infants’ crying and fussing signals their dissatisfaction with some aspects of life, although the source isn’t always obvious. Common reasons include hunger, wet diapers, or exhaustion, but they may also be overstimulated, hot, or even just itchy. It is even possible that they are gassy or constipated. It could simply be that all the changes of entering the world are overwhelming their little body. As your newborn cannot communicate verbally with you, you may have to try several methods and check a number of things before figuring out what they need.
Walk Around Outside
Walking outside is one of the best ways to soothe a restless infant. Bringing the newborn into a new environment and breathing fresh air has a way of resetting them. You can wear your baby, place them in a stroller or simply hold them and go outside. You don’t even have to go far! You can walk in your backyard or pace on the sidewalk near your apartment. Alternatively, if it’s nighttime or impossible to venture outside, opening a window or facing your newborn outside while gently rocking can achieve a very similar effect.
A lukewarm bath may help if your baby is fussy due to gas, overstimulation, or heat. Like going outside, the feel of water flowing on them and surrounding them can help them reset their systems and calm their stomachs. For infants who have tummy issues, perform some simple leg exercises before placing them in the bath: bicycle feet, in-and-outs, and tummy spirals. Try to run a warm washcloth over their forehead and down the side of their face if you cannot take a bath.
Swaddling or Baby Wearing
Swaddling or baby wearing can make a great difference if your baby is fussy or agitated during the “witching hour.” It is also helpful if your infant is unable to fall asleep at any point. Swaddling and baby wearing triggers the same feeling of coziness that they experienced in the womb, which helps them regain peace. Try swaddling or wrapping your newborn on you and then rocking her in a dark room with low sound. This should bring your newborn back to a place of peace or even help her fall asleep.
Taking Care of Mama
Parents, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. If you have been attempting to help your newborn and are becoming tired or need a moment, then ask for help or place your baby in a safe space and regroup. It is ok to let them fuss or cry for a little bit. When you take care of yourself, you will be a happier parent which in turn provides a sense of calming to your baby and she will be happier too.
About The Author
Nia Davidson has over 10 years of experience working with children in Boston and Virginia, as well as abroad. She studied human development and family studies at the University of Vermont. She is also trained as a birth and postpartum doula and works as a Newborn Care Expert with BBN&N. Growing up mostly abroad in Germany and Qatar, she has a unique understanding of different cultures and traditions. She understands that bringing a newborn home can be filled with wonder and excitement but also can be a time of stress. Nia’s calm demeanor, loving nature, and multicultural experiences abroad make her uniquely capable of supporting families through the newborn stages. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, hiking, and practicing yoga.