One of the most important tricks of the trade in parenting is learning how to take a fussy baby and help soothe her until she falls into a nice, deep sleep. Unfortunately, there’s isn’t one foolproof way to do it. Every baby is different, and every parent is different, leaving us to learn by trial and error. But take heart, although the hours spent trying to help your fussy baby sleep can be frustrating, they are also great relationship building times.
The most important thing to remember when dealing with a fussy baby is that it’s important to stay calm yourself. Your baby is very sensitive to your emotions, and if you are tense, it will make it harder for baby to settle down. There are even times when it’s better to lay your baby down someplace safe and go into another room, or even outside, for a few minutes to relax yourself so that you can help soothe your baby. Never feel bad about needing to step away for a moment. It won’t hurt or emotionally scar your baby, and in fact may even help her to be able to self soothe if she is occasionally allowed to cry briefly.
Many babies find it relaxing when you sing softly to them. If you’re not a singer, you can always recite nursery rhyme poems, or even song lyrics. The sound of your voice, especially spoken rhythmically, helps calm your baby. You may even try singing the same songs regularly to your baby. Before long, they recognize the sounds, and the familiarity is soothing to them.
For younger babies, swaddling can be very comforting. It is theorized that the snug wrapping reminds baby of the womb, thus helping her to relax. Babies of all ages generally respond well to rocking or other gentle, repetitive motion. One trick that many parents swear by, if all else fails, is putting the baby in his car seat and taking a drive. The motion of the car often helps babies fall asleep. And, if nothing else, it gets you both out of the house for a little while.