To read the first part, go to Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).
There are many things you can do to calm a crying baby.
- Speak to them softly, reassure them that you’re there for them;
- Pick up the baby and rock them slowly;
- Breastfeed if necessary;
- Change their diaper if necessary;
- Hold them vertically to help digestion;
- Change the baby’s position;
- Make sure they aren’t too hot or cold;
- Try a vibrating seat or baby swing on low;
- Limit stimuli—speak softly, lower the lighting, turn down the TV, music, etc.;
- Walk with them around the house in your arms or stroller;
- The vibration of a car ride can help;
- A baby carrier can help both for the positioning of the baby and the fact you’re not holding them all the time.
If none of this improves the situation, you can leave them lying on their back in their bed and go out for some air. Don’t wait until you’re at your wits’ end before asking for help from a friend, a member of your family, a neighbour, or someone you trust. They can take over, are fresh and calm and have the energy you no longer have. You need a break…
Parent Reactions to a Baby Crying
Any parent can be confronted with uncomfortable feelings when faced with a baby who persistently cries. Some parents will regret having their baby, dreaming of their simple life in the past. This difficult situation can even threaten a couple’s harmony. This situation can bring out deep feelings, exposing limits and frustrations caused by a lack of control over circumstances, our inability to change things. The anger which follows is a normal feeling, but tough to manage for some.
Negative thoughts may occur more and more each time the baby starts to cry. This can cause physical reactions, such as increased body temperature and heart rate, muscle contractions, and lead to raising of voices or shouting, headaches and difficulty breathing. All of these are signs that anger is increasing, and it can escalate dangerously. This is the time when you need to know your own limits and ask for help before doing something you might regret for the rest of your life. Besides being tired, you can have other concerns, such as money, your relationship with your partner, a lack of friends, or medication, alcohol or drug consumption. Your baby’s crying is just added to the rest, and you may lose control of your acts.
Have you ever wondered if this happened to you, what would you do as a parent? I think it’s worth reflecting on because no one knows what they will face as a parent. You learn the role day by day. How will you behave if your baby is crying inconsolably? What strategies will you use? You need to talk about your potential emotional reactions. This doesn’t make you bad parents. Instead, you’re parents that want to do well and be prepared to control yourselves in case of need. How do you react in normal situations when faced with a stressful situation where you don’t have control?
To get some advice, see Hints to Help Parents Stay in Control.