Parents often wonder ‘why do babies cry at night?’ Crying babies can cause a great deal of stress and needless to say, every parent wants to know the tricks and tips to calm a crying baby in 5 seconds. Let us look at some proven ways that can help.
1. Address its physical needs
One of the main reasons why babies cry so much are unmet physical needs. Hunger, soiled diaper or colic pains are some of the needs a newborn has. Caregivers can offer a bottle to soothe the hungry baby. Often, feeding the baby is the best bet to stop it from crying under 15 seconds. Check if the baby needs to be burped or if s/he is too hot or cold. Changing the diaper and carrying or cuddling the baby can also help.
2. Recreate womb movement
Most babies cry a lot upon waking up and parents need to understand that crying is an essential part of their developing abilities. To soothe the child, you must try to recreate womb-like atmosphere. For example, wrapping the baby up in a shawl or light blanket can help. Alternatively, moving the baby around can help calm him/her, since the womb has a lot of movement. A quick walk, swaying from side to side, a ride in the car etc are some good options to calm baby down.
3. Breastfeed often
Studies have shown that babies that are exclusively breastfed sleep a lot better than ones that are fed on formula or combination of bottle and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding also makes waking up easier to manage especially if your baby cries a lot upon waking.
4. Skin to skin contact
Baby crying can also be prevented by providing skin to skin contact. Bring your child in contact with your warm skin. Avoid using strong fragrances or perfumes. As far as possible, allow the baby’s skin to touch your skin without clothing in the middle. This releases oxytocin-the love hormone, and helps increase breast milk in mothers. Fathers too can hold and touch the baby as it stabilizes their heart rate and temperature. Sometimes, sharing the bed with baby can also help. Babies sleep much better when they are in contact with their caregivers. Intermittent bed sharing is the best as it helps mommies breastfeed easily and increases sleep time for both mom and baby.
5. Add some white noise
The womb has a lot of noise due to fluid movements. Try to recreate the same as it helps prevent baby crying. You can turn the radio or TV on or play some gentle, soothing music. The sound of the vacuum cleaner can also help. Constant surrounding sounds helps calm baby by slowing brain frequencies.
6. Play some music
Playing classical music is an easy way to calm a crying baby. Turn it off as soon as s/he is asleep especially if the music has loud and quiet bits. The wide changes in volume might wake him up again. Lullaby songs are also readily available.
7. Read a story or sing to the baby
Your voice can have a calming effect on your baby. Read or narrate a story or sing. Tape recordings of human voices can also come in handy.
8. Sound machines
Sound machines with sounds of ocean waves, waterfall, birds singing etc can also calm a baby in less than 15 seconds.
Swings are popular and effective methods to calm a crying baby in less than 15 seconds. The gentle rocking and swaying movement is reminiscent of the womb movements. Once the baby falls asleep in the swing, turn it off. This way, s/he can have motionless sleep.Let him sleep in the swing as s/he may wake up when you transfer it to the crib –whatever it takes to keep him asleep!
10. Check for signs of illness
If your baby has a fever, seek medical help. You can give the baby a warm bath and swaddle her. If fever persists, use pediatrician approved medication to bring it down. If the baby has gas, try burping it. Teething, colicky babies also tend to cry a lot. If this is the case, use a chilled teething ring or offer gas relieving drops. You can also massage the baby to relieve gas.
11. Never shake the baby
Shaken baby syndrome is real and can lead to many serious complications. It is very natural for babies to cry and even more natural for parents and caregivers to feel frustrated while calming it. Try seeking help from spouse, family friend or neighbor so you can rest a bit. Keep a plan ready to deal with baby crying at night. Attach posters of ‘I will not shake my baby’ and use other standard methods like walking the baby, feeding, or swaddling her.
If these ways to soothe a crying infant do not work, call your doctor, friend or relative for support. Keep the crying baby in a safe place and come back when you feel calmer.