*Soothing a Fussy Baby
Babies cry for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it’s easy to calm them down: All it takes is a feeding, a burp, a diaper change or your calm voice and gentle touch. But then there are other times when your baby — possibly even because she’s going through a bout of colic — may seem inconsolable no matter what you do. It may even be enough to drive you to tears. But don't lose hope. First, try to nail down the type of baby's cries and rule out any obvious culprits (like a dirty diaper or an empty tummy) along with any symptoms of illness that warrant a call to the doctor, such as a fever or runny nose, or signs of pain, like swollen gums. Still got a fussy baby on your hands? Try these are 12 time-tested techniques that’ll help clear the tears and make you both feel better.
*Swaddle your Baby
Swaddling your baby in a receiving blanket keeps your little bundle feeling cozy and secure. Experts think swaddling soothes babies because it creates a womb-like feeling. Many parents find swaddling helps their babies settle down faster and sleep longer. Some babies prefer their arms to be left out of the swaddle, either because they self-soothe by sucking their fingers or simply because they like their freedom. You can easily leave their arms out of the swaddle by placing them with the blanket's top edge at armpit level instead of at chin-level.
Babies often soothe themselves with nonnutritive sucking, which doesn't fill their tummies but does calm their nerves. If your baby is crying, help her find her thumb, fist or finger, or simply offer one of your own fingers for a stint. Binkies or pacifiers can also do the trick, though you might want to consider waiting until breastfeeding is well established before introducing one.
*Wear Baby in a Front-Pack Carrier
Wearing your baby and walking around is a great way to soothe her. Babies enjoy the feeling of closeness and the rhythm of your steps. The carrier is also convenient because your hands remain free for multitasking. Have your baby face your body in a front-pack carrier or a sling for the first three months when she needs the extra head support. You can also use a sling, which are particularly useful for on-the-go nursing and can convert to a side or back hold when your baby gets older. If your baby balks at being in a sling or front carrier at first, don't give up on it entirely. Babies often come around and enjoy being carried around like this.
*Rock in a Chair or Glider
Rocking a baby in a rocking chair or glider is probably one of life's most cherished and time-honored rituals. Modern parenting offers some hands-free rocking options too: When your baby is fussing, consider putting her in a motorized baby swing, vibrating bouncy seat or an automatic cradle. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's safety instructions regarding the age and weight restrictions for these devices. And try not to let your baby get in the habit of nodding off in them because she might become dependent on the motion to fall asleep over time. Instead, let her get to the brink of sleep, and then transfer her to her crib.
*Soothe with White Noise
Some babies calm down to rhythmic whooshing sounds, which may remind them of the womb. See if turning on a vacuum cleaner, hair dryer or fan may work to block out the random noises that can startle your baby when she’s trying to settle down. Alternatively, invest in a special white-noise machine or mobile. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have any gadgets handy, try shushing your baby with "Shhhhhh…shhhh…shhhh…" sounds.
*Sing a Song
Your baby has no idea whether you sing off-key or with perfect pitch. What she does know is that whenever she's being crooned to, you’re there with her. So the next time she's cranky, sing her a classic lullaby, a cheesy 80s power ballad or whatever tune comes to mind. She'll be comforted just by the sound of your voice.