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Calming a Fussy Baby

Crying and Your Baby: How to calm your fussy or colicky baby

Lee Health understand that parenting presents unique challenges, but we are here to support you as you get to know your baby and their needs. Read more to learn about why your baby may be fussing, and how to help them. 

Symptoms and possible causes for a fussy baby

While all babies cry, there are many reasons why your infant is fussy. Crying is one way babies can tell you what they need, so understanding potential medical causes, or stressors can help you to manage and calm your fussy baby. 

Below are some common causes for fussy babies:

  • Colic (Periods of inconsolable crying): Could be immature gastro-intestinal system
  • Clenching fists: Sensitive nervous system
  • Drawing legs up to abdomen: Excessive gas or overfeeding
  • Stiffening as if in pain: Formula intolerance
  • Passing gas: Reaction to foods the breastfeeding mother has eaten
  • Grimacing: Overstimulation

Tips to help new parents with fussy or colicky babies

Crying often is related to hunger, and feeding is the obvious solution. However, periods of crying with no obvious cause and no ready cure plague many parents. Here are a few suggestions. Give several a try. One may work today and another may work tomorrow. Be flexible and know that "this too will end."

Never Shake! Take a Break!

Crying is one of the important ways your baby communicates with you. Never shake a baby! Ever! Check for the possible causes of crying and remember, Never Shake! Take a Break! Shaken baby injuries can occur from as little as 5 seconds of shaking.

Ways to Calm a Fussy or Colicky Baby:

Motion in any form:

  • Walking
  • Baby swing
  • Rock in rocking chair
  • Rocking side to side while standing
  • Ride in the car or in a stroller
  • Carry baby in infant sling
  • Bicycle your baby's legs

More ways to calm a fussy or colicky baby:

  • Over-the-counter gas relief drops (Gripe Water)
  • Singing
  • White sound (running water, vacuum, clothes dryer, hair dryer)
  • Swaddle your baby snugly
  • Undress your baby and allow complete freedom of motion
  • Avoid overstimulation from noises, lights or motion
  • Distract the baby with different sounds, sights or places
  • Place pressure on your baby's abdomen (gently)
  • Hold baby in the "colic hold" (facing floor, supported by your arm, heel of your hand putting pressure on the abdomen)
  • Hold baby over your shoulder or over your knees
  • Keep a food diary to determine if a particular food bothers your baby
  • Talk to a lactation consultant who may suggest feeding on only one breast per feeding or other techniques to balance the "foremilk" and "hindmilk" your baby obtains while breastfeeding.
  • Take a break; let someone else try for a while.

Call 239-343-5186 to speak with a certified lactation consultant.

Pediatric Locations Near You

Take a break from crying or colicky babies when you can.

If nothing seems to work when calming your crying baby, try to take a moment to yourself.  Remember that it is okay to take a break and ask for help from family or friends if needed. Crying can be difficult for anybody, but even more challenging when you are mentally or physically exhausted.

  • Count to 10 and take deep breaths
  • Listen to music for a few minutes.
  • Call a friend or family member for ¬≠emotional support.
  • Call your child's doctor. There may be a medical reason why your baby is crying.

Try to be patient. Keeping your baby safe is important, but it's important to prioritize your own mental and physical health. This will ultimately benefit both you and your baby in the long run. Remember, Never Shake! Take a Break!

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