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Just after I had my first baby, I was in the middle of raising her while I was nearly a baby myself [at 18]. I was completely unaware that there were alternative options to letting babies “cry it out.” I read an article by Claire Niala titled, “Why African Babies Don’t Cry: An African Perspective.”
There was another way? You mean my home can be harmonious?
I later found out that there was an actual term for this way of parenting: attachment parenting.
I learned that no matter what you chose before, you can always improve starting with today. I’ve collected some of my favorite ways I’ve soothed my baby over the years and I’d love to share them with you.
Best Ways to Soothe a Baby
- Babywear! Not only does this allow your baby to be near you, but your hands can be free to do other things (like packing a lunch for the older kiddos!). There are a lot of options on Amazon, I’ve linked a few affiliate links for my fave: I love wraps for younger babies, and soft-structured buckle carriers for older ones. They even make toddler-sized carriers!
- Nurse, nurse, nurse. Don’t look at the clock! If baby wants to nurse and you just finished nursing, do it any way!
- Rock baby! There is a reason you see rocking chairs in nurseries everywhere. Babies love being rocked. Even my toddler loves getting rocked now!
- Use white noise. My favorite way to do this is by using a fan. In fact, a study showed that if an infant had a fan that was used in the sleeping room, the infant’s risk of SIDS was reduced by 72 percent compared to no fan in the room.
- Go for a drive. Seriously! Ever fall asleep as a passenger on a road trip? If it lulls you to sleep, chances are…it’ll lull baby to sleep.
- Bathe together. Any time any of my babies were sick or fussy, I’d hop in the tub or shower with them. Pro tip: lay down a large hand towel on your lap and set baby on TOP. Baby will poop on you. Better they poop on the towel than you, right?
- Have a predictable routine. Babies thrive on it! If they usually get read a story after eating, do it every single time. It’ll give them something to look forward to.
- Baby massage! Who doesn’t love massages?! They’re ridiculously easy to do to soothe a fussy baby. They usually offer infant massage classes at local hospitals, otherwise doulas and midwives can usually teach you a trick or two!
- Gently bounce on a yoga ball. This worked for all of my babies, but it may not work for all. Give it a try!
- Sing to your baby and pat the butt. Sure, it helps if you’ve got pipes (have you seen the video of the baby crying to mom’s voice?!)…but your baby has been listening to your voice since he was in the womb. He’s going to love it- it soothes him.
But, what if it’s colic?
Crying is a way for babies to express how they feel. It’s natural – how else would they communicate with us? Sometimes though, babies cry for an extended period of time despite all of their other needs being met. Some of the reasons babies cry is from digestive discomfort. You know your baby has colic when a healthy baby cries for more than 3 hours per day, at least 3 days per week, for over 3 weeks.
Research indicates that the type of bacteria in the infant’s digestive system may determine whether a child is colicky. This suggests a role for probiotics to help support a balance of good bacteria in the digestive tract of colicky infants. In particular, the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri has been clinically shown in multiple studies to reducing crying time in colicky infants. Comforting probiotics are a great way to improve the good bacteria in baby’s digestive system, which helps promote digestive comfort.
GERBER Soothe products (drops and powder formula) contain L. reuteri, a comforting probiotic that is safe for infants and similar to those found in breastmilk.
What are your best parenting tips? I’d love to hear them below!
I received a free sample of Gerber® Good Start® Infant formula and Gerber® Soothe probiotic colic drops from Gerber. My thoughts and opinions are my own. #formulaforhappiness