Many fathers dread the thought of being left alone with a baby. Listening to their baby’s cry is a crazy experience in itself but dealing with it is another story altogether. You don’t have to make frantic calls to your wife or run to the neighbor’s as though your house is on fire. Try these few tips to calm your baby.
Find out why
Babies cry for a wide range of reasons. It could be hunger, thirst, cold, heat, boredom, pain, sleep or a wet diaper. It could even be teething! Imagine struggling to change a baby’s diaper yet their (yet to come) teeth are killing them. Finding out will help you take a better course of action. Unfortunately you may need to use trial and error and elimination until you get the actual cause but it is for a great cause.
A warm bottle of milk can calm a soothing adult, let alone a child. Try giving your baby a warm bottle of formula or breast milk and see what happens. It could soothe her for a while and buy you time to figure out anything else that could be troubling her.
Your finger could work
Babies love chewing on people’s fingers. Clamping their gums on a large finger could be like sucking on a bar of chocolate for them (albeit without the sugar….. or chocolate). So, give your fingers a good wash and let her suck on one. The small finger would probably be easier to handle. Make sure you point your fingernail downwards to avoid scratching the roof of her mouth. If you do scratch her you’ll have another crying bout to deal with.
A little movement
Have you noticed that she loves it when you rock her? Repetitive movement gets babies to calm down because it probably reminds them of the rocking and swaying while they were in the womb. You can carry her at chest level and rock back and forth. You can also dance a little while chanting or singing a little. Watch the baby for pointers to reduce your voice and even then, do it gradually as opposed to stopping immediately as though you have an off switch.
Make some noise!
She heard her mother’s heartbeat throughout pregnancy and probably her rumbling tummy too. White noise is therefore something she is accustomed to. Try switching on the vacuum cleaner, washing machine, the radio but don’t tune it properly or even a hairdryer.
If your baby is old enough to appreciate the beauty of vision then you can try some clown moves. Make funny noises, do a belly flop or a funny dance. Any physical gag is welcome as long as you don’t get hurt because she will definitely not appreciate that. You will have her staring at you in no time and maybe even a giggle here and there. If you are lucky you can get serious laughter out of her! The only catch with this is that she loves repetitive things. You will have to go on and on for a while and she may take quite a while to get bored. Her boredom determines how long you will keep at it.
Wearing the baby
Sometimes all you need to do is wear your baby. Carry her in a sling or a baby carrier if you don’t have a sling. The warmth of your body, your breathing, the rhythm of your heartbeat and your movement as you walk or at least gently swing around will all work together to calm your baby down.
Sometimes nothing works yet nothing is wrong with her and all you can do (short of giving her to the neighbor) is watch her cry. Leave her alone for a bit and take a short break. Hopefully she’ll have had her fill when you come back. At least she’ll know you still care and are there for her when you come back.
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