We know that dealing with a fussy baby can be a handful. Most mothers would probably say that a fussy baby cries a lot or does not calm down easily. Of course, some mothers might say that a difficult child is one whose crying goes beyond normal and becomes somewhat problematic. The truth is that all of these explanations could fit into the overall idea of what makes a baby fussy. The question every new parent or caregiver wants to know is how do you comfort a fussy baby?
Surveys About Fussiness
Do not make the mistake of thinking you are the only one dealing with an infant who has trouble calming down. A recent survey pointed out that you are definitely not alone. Approximately 10.3 percent of mothers believe their babies can be hard to comfort, and about 14 percent of mothers think their little bundles of joy sometimes cry a bit excessively.
How to Deal With Fussiness
There are many tips that may help to comfort a fussy baby. Here are a few things to consider:
Some mothers might have heard a thing or two about the importance of routines. We know that sticking to a routine may not seem like a good solution, but in fact, studies show that routines may help a fussy child go to sleep a little easier.
One routine that might help to comfort a fussy baby is giving a warm bath. Try giving your baby a soothing massage right after bathtime using natural oils or lotions. Sing a favorite lullaby and your little bundle of joy should be quite content to fall asleep.
It is important that the routine starts about 30 minutes prior to the time you want your baby to fall asleep, and it is crucial that you try to ensure the routine stays at a consistent time.
Night and Day
Sleeping at night and waking up in the morning is something the body does naturally but only because the body has established circadian cycles over the course of your lifetime. These cycles are based on the way the body reacts to light. The brain creates a neurotransmitter called melatonin. This interesting little chemical helps a person get sleepy. The brain produces the chemical when the sun goes down and when the temperature drops just a bit. Melatonin production slows down when sunlight hits the body.
Regrettably, infants have not yet developed this circadian cycle, which explains why some babies get a little fussy when their parents try to put them to sleep. Your little one may just not be sleepy.
A study shows that parents who take a stroll with their babies in the afternoon struggle less at bedtime. Parents might want to consider some of the following tips, as it may help children to develop their circadian cycles.
- Expose the baby to natural sunlight during the day.
- Be sure to darken the nursery as much as possible when it is time for the baby to fall asleep.
- Do your best to expose the child to activities during waking hours to help him or her get used to a normal day and night-time schedule.
If you’re still looking for tips to help comfort a fussy baby:
- Try diffusing a little lavender oil in the house, which is known to be calming.
- Expose the baby to soothing sounds like classical music or sounds of nature.
- Rocking your baby can work wonders.
- Swaddle the baby in a warm and soft blanket.
When to Worry
For the most part, a parent does not need to worry about a fussy child, but it’s important to know that fussiness can sometimes be a sign of a more serious issue. Parents should be vigilant, no matter how small the risk. Worrying simply comes with the job of being a parent, and we understand that.
A study shows that crying babies could potentially be at risk of developing ADHD as the child gets older. If you find your child is excessively fussy, you may consider talking to your child’s doctor to explore this possibility. Your doctor should be able to put your mind at ease or provide more information, if necessary.
Another issue commonly associated with fussiness is colic, which is intense pain in the stomach caused by intestinal gas. Colic babies usually have bouts of unexplainable crying for about hours at a time, with seemingly no cure. Colic usually goes away on its own, but you can consult your pediatrician for more information and treatment recommendations.
All babies cry—there is typically no need to fret—it’s just part of the process. For those times when your baby is fussier than usual, keep these tips in mind to help soothe your little one. Be attentive of the techniques that work for your baby and understand that parenting is an experience. Most of all, know that you’re doing a great job—even when your bundle of joy is teary-eyed.