12 Ways to Soothe a Fussy Baby

These Parent-Tested Techniques Can Work Wonders

All babies get the crankies. This is when they whimper and cry, but without the desperation you've learned means "Feed me!" or "Change me now!" This fussy crying usually signals that your sweetie wants your help calming down or drifting off to sleep. Here are 12 surefire soothers that should improve your little one's mood:

  1. Give your baby a massage. Rub a bit of baby oil onto your palms and treat baby to some long, gentle strokes on his back, arms, and legs. Bonus: You'll feel more relaxed, too!
  2. Sit in a rocking chair together and enjoy that lulling back-and-forth movement.
  3. If the rocking chair doesn't do the trick, try an infant swing. Many parents swear by this product, calling it a sanity saver (for them and their child!).
  4. Some little ones prefer up-and-down movement to back-and-forth. Try sitting on a fitness ball and gently bouncing with your baby. It's good for firming up your tummy, too (the effort to stay balanced works your abs).
  5. The ancient method of swaddling is used around the globe. Ask a mommy friend to show you how to wrap your baby snuggly (but not too snug), or buy a pre-folded "swaddler."
  6. Wear your baby in a front carrier as you do your household chores (just be careful not to bend over when you're wearing your little one). For most infants, the more physical contact with mom and dad, the better!
  7. Get some "white noise" going—from a fan, a vacuum cleaner, or a hair dryer. The steady hum will remind baby of his days in the womb, where he heard the gentle sounds of your heartbeat and the swooshing of amniotic fluid.
  8. If baby's not into white noise, try different kinds of music—from soft and soothing (a CD of waves washing onto shore) to loud and upbeat. Reggae is a good genre to try; that happy, regular beat seems to put everyone in a good mood.
  9. Serve up a mini-meal. Even if it's not the usual time for a feeding, many babies mellow out after just a few sips of formula or breast milk.
  10. Offer a pacifier or even your (clean) finger. You'll be amazed at the strength of her teeny jaw as she happily sucks away! Another positive: When used during sleep, pacifiers help lower a baby's risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  11. Babies get bored, and when they're bored, they get upset. Sometimes all your little fusspot needs is an interesting toy to hold or a mobile to look at.
  12. For the ultimate diversion, break out the stroller and hit the park for a change of scenery. Or go for a family drive. After all, what could be nicer than having your whole family in the car—your happy little lovebug snug in the back while you and your spouse belt out Top 40 tunes?

This article was written by the publishers of Parents and American Baby magazines.

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