Have the minutes ever turned into hours when nothing seems to work for calming a crying baby at night? Babies’ fussiness during late afternoon to early evening hours—also known as the “witching hour”—is very common. The best way to calm a fussy baby at night can vary, and what works for one parent may not necessarily work for you.
Oftentimes, babies are fussy during the first four months of their life and you’ll likely notice your baby is most fussy around their sixth week of life. While you may feel it’s easier said that done for someone to encourage you to be patient, this is actually valuable advice, especially if it’s coming from a parent who’s been in your shoes.
Reasons Why a Baby Is Fussy at Night
There may be a number of reasons why your baby is fussy at night. No matter your parenting experience, it may take some time to determine what your baby is trying to tell you.
Growth spurt phases are one of the most common reasons for babies’ fussiness. The most obvious growth spurt happens from the time a baby is born to when they turn four months old.
Overtired babies may take a lot longer to settle down, and this is another reason for fussiness. One of the greatest misconceptions you hear when parenting a newborn is that keeping babies awake longer will make them sleep longer and easier. While this may be true later on in life, babies need routine naps throughout the day.
Lastly, one reason we know all too well is that your baby may be feeling gassy. We can all admit this isn’t a pleasant feeling for anyone, let alone a helpless newborn. Their toy-sized digestive system may not be able to comfortably pass gas, which can leave them feeling rather uncomfortable.
While the frequency of cranky phases will lessen over time, it’s still very important for parents to understand the different ways to calm a crying baby. We’ll cover two very effective methods: How to calm a crying baby while holding them, and how to soothe a crying baby without holding them.
How to Calm a Crying Baby While Holding Them
Literally wear your baby. This is one of the most commonly used methods and it’s easily one of the most convenient, because you will still have your hands free to perform other tasks while your baby remains comforted by your heartbeat. Your baby is undeniably most attached to you during its earliest stages in life because it depends on you for everything.
While keeping on the theme of bonding through physical touch, massages tend to work miracles when calming a crying baby. Massage is very basic and you can even introduce some natural oils for increased comfort.
If your baby has a hard time passing gas, spend time burping your baby. This tactic may or may not work every time to calm a crying baby. If it doesn’t, don’t get frustrated and overdo it. It’s okay to move on and try something else. Remember, be patient. Babies don’t hold grudges.
If you determine that your baby is still hungry, you can try switching up breastfeeding positions. You may notice your baby feels more comfortable in particular positions. Pay attention to how your baby reacts. This method of calming a crying baby while holding them can also be beneficial for experimenting with how different positions affect milk flow.
How to Soothe a Crying Baby Without Holding Them
Does your baby sometimes prefer not to be held? This is nothing to be alarmed about.
If this is the case, try taking your baby for a walk in their stroller. The rhythm of walking is similar to that of movements inside the womb, and oftentimes this helps to soothe a crying baby without holding them. Plus, a change in surroundings can be important for babies, and for you too.
What baby doesn’t love bath time? Babies spend up to nine months inside their mother’s womb. Naturally, water is very soothing for them. Give your baby some toys to play with in the water and they’ll be distracted in no time.
You can always try turning on a calming sound, such as those that, once again, remind your baby of being inside their mother’s womb. These can include the humming sound of a fan or the sound of a heartbeat.
Have you noticed a pattern yet? It’s interesting that babies tend to react better to movements and sounds that they’re familiar with before they are even born.
Every Situation for Calming a Crying Baby Is Different
If you’re having a hard time determining whether your baby’s fussiness is related to eating or sleeping, don’t hesitate to document how long it takes your baby to eat or if and how often your baby cries after eating. Recording any patterns you notice is very important information for giving your doctor to review. A doctor will be able to evaluate what your baby’s crankiness may be tied to.
At the end of the day, always remember to resort to being patient on your end. You may not know exactly what your crying baby is trying to tell you. However, with time and perhaps a consultation with your doctor, you’ll begin to realize your baby’s way of communicating its needs.
Don’t get caught up in sticking with the most common techniques other parents you know use. Often the reason for a crying baby is unique to each situation.