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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How to Calm a Baby (Tips)

Checklist of what makes babies cry, and how to fix it:

* Baby is wet -- change diaper.
* Baby is hungry -- feed baby.
* Baby is hungry, but is too upset to nurse.
1. Something else is wrong. Fix that first, then try nursing again.
2. Put your small index finger in the baby's mouth, palm side up. Make sure your nail is trimmed short. It helps to wet the finger first. Rub the tip of your finger in the hollow in the top of the baby's mouth and your finger against baby's upper and lower lip. Once baby is calm, transfer to a real nipple. This is also a great way to temporarily placate a baby when food isn't available.
3. While you are trying to get the baby to latch on, put the palm of your hand on the baby's cheek.
4. While you are trying to get the baby to latch on, blow gently on the baby's face. This works really well on Hal -- he gets upset and hot and red from crying, and the hot face seems to keep him upset. He cools down when you blow gently on his face, and calms down enough to latch.
5. Let the baby grip the fingers of one hand (one of your fingers per baby hand). Your hands can't be wet or cold or this won't work.

* Baby is cold (or part of baby is cold) -- blanket, hold next to your skin.
* Baby is hot - cool off room.
* Baby's folds are itchy (red, irritated) -- wash them out.
* Baby's clothes are itchy/uncomfortable -- change the clothes.
* Baby is damp and clammy -- baby powder (Hal's big on this one).
* Baby is tired -- hold next to skin, and rock, sing to sleep. Or nurse to sleep. Or hold baby so that her head is on your throat and hum softly. Going "hmmmmm" for a few seconds with every breath works best for us, but some people can count slowly (works better if your voice is deep) or do other rhythmic voice things.


* One thing that works well for me is to lay on my back, put the baby face-down on my chest, and gently rock and sing.
* Baby's clothes/diaper are too tight and/or chafe. -- loosen the clothes, or change them.
* Baby has diaper rash -- put on diaper cream, and check the diaper more frequently so that it can't develop.
* Baby has an earache. This is a bad one. It's generally viral ear infection, the baby gets congested, and there are pressure differences that make the ear ache. Baby Tylenol/painkiller helps, nursing helps, and setting the baby so that the ear can more easily drain helps.
* Baby has gas, aka colic. I saved this for last, because it's difficult and there is a long list of things to try. If the baby has gas, you can hear and feel the gas in the tummy and going through the intestines. Sometimes the tummy will get very hard.
o burp baby on your chest
o burp baby over your shoulder
o walk the baby around, gently bouncing and/or jiggling her.
o lay down, and put baby chest-down on your chest, with the head turned to one side.
o Baby judo. Drape the baby chest down along your arm, with your arm between baby's legs and arms, and baby's cheek nestled in your palm. Baby's head will be turned to one side (outward). Put your other arm under to help hold the baby up. Walk around rocking and/or jiggling the baby. This is amazingly effective.
o Go through the positions again. The gas moves around.
o Simethicone drops. They help, but don't completely fix.
o Change the way you're nursing the baby, if baby is gulping air.
o Change diet? (Works for some people).
o Some babies calm down if you drive them around in the car.
* Baby is startled -- Just comfort.
* Baby startles self -- Usually happens when baby is going to sleep. Arms or legs drop, hit something, and baby wakes back up, crying. Swaddling is good for this.
* Baby wants to be cosy -- swaddling the baby will fix this. It's amazing how often just swaddling the baby will end crying. It's especially effective if the baby is wearing an outfit which exposes arms/legs, and the baby wants to be covered. Or if the baby is cold.
* Try darkening and quieting the room.
* I found my baby's reset button! Whenever he is crying inconsolably I undress him and we climb into the tub. He stops sobbing immediately and is so happy. While this won't work with all babies - every baby has something that they like - a car ride, the hairdryer, the sound of running water, etc.
* The Fathers of Breastfed Babies website suggested for baby entertainment you can download the MIDI Art program for your Windows computer from www.midiworks.com (it generates art from recorded MIDI music) and then using it to play free MIDI music that you can get from midiworld.com and www.midifarm.com. I've tried this, and it really does work -- it grabs my baby's attention and you can kind of dance with him and look at it together, even if he's feeling fussy. His favorite setting is "04 - Musical Grid".
* Try some sort of white noise in the background. Currently my fish tank is a about an inch low in water so it is quite noisy, like a waterfall. I have noticed that my baby falls asleep faster if I am sitting by it. It is sort of soothing.
* Put a heating pad in the crib to warm the mattress where you will be putting the baby down. Make sure to take it off right before laying down the baby so the mattress doesn't cool off. Then they kind of snuggle into the warmth.
* Take off your shirt and put it in the bed under or with the baby - so baby is being put on something warm that smells of mummy.

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