By Hils Robson
KEEP THINGS NOISY – Babies are used to a womb full of swishing sounds, muffled outdoor noises and their mummy’s heartbeat. Tempting as it is to want to keep everything quiet – babies prefer noise. Switch the hoover/hairdryer on, download a white noise app for a huge range of sounds for them to listen to or head outdoors.
SHOOSH YOUR BABY – Snuggle them in and make a shooshing noise in their ear as it will remind them of being in the womb. It needs to be louder than their cry for them to hear!
WATER – Due to life in the womb, babies love the sound of water. Have a bath together (safely) or even fill a bowl of water and swish it about.
MASSAGE – Who doesn’t love a massage! Babies can really benefit from being massaged, as can their caregivers. As well as releasing lots of happy hormones, it can also help with wind, constipation, reflux, sleep, relaxation and much more.
HUMMMM TO YOUR BABY – It will remind him/her of being in your womb and your heart rate pulsing, they will love it.
SKIN TO SKIN – Where possible try and bring your baby in very close and have some skin-to-skin time. They will adore this and it’s great for them and you. Both your heart rates will lower, you will feel calmer, your baby can smell you, feel your warmth and they will feel safe and secure being with you.
DISTRACTION – My own mummy’s favourite. ‘Look, what’s that in the sky?’, ‘Oh what’s the dog doing?’, etc, as it can take their thoughts away from being upset and gives them something else to think about and see.
MOVE WITH YOUR BABY – They’ve had 9 months of moving about in your womb and are not used to being still. Get a sling on, rock them, gently dance, sway or take them out for a walk in the pram. Studies show being carried reduces crying in babies (Esposito et al 2013).
ARE THEY OVERSTIMULATED? – Young babies are very easily overstimulated. Even a trip to the shops can be an overload to the senses. Try and keep things as calm as possible, dim the lights, move to another room away from others. They may look away and not want eye contact briefly but this is their way of recharging the brain and so don’t take offence. Their gaze will return back when they are ready. Your baby may either want to lie in their cot for a moment or snuggled in peacefully to your loving arms.
ARE THEY UNDERSTIMULATED? – Give your baby some attention if they are looking bored and fidgety. Play with them, sing to them, read to them, smile with them or go for a walk.
TRY A SIDE HOLD – Babies love being on their sides but due to back sleeping advice, this isnt always possible. Try holding them on your knee but on their side, ideally the left side, where the digestive system will be working away, as this can also help with a sore tummy.
CHECK THEIR CLOTHES – Are they uncomfy, too hot/cold, is a popper digging in, waistband too tight, nappy hurting?
DIM THE LIGHTS – Maybe they are overwhelmed. Try lowering the lights, turn your phone and TV off for a bit. It may be all too much for their nerves to handle.
AVOID OVERFEEDING – A baby won’t feel happy with an overfull tummy, a bit like us after a big Sunday lunch, especially if we were being joogled about.