Five Methods of De-Screaming Your Baby
We all know that indescribable feeling when your baby is screaming and you just don’t know why. That pinch in the pit of your tummy, and the ache that you can not seem to calm her no matter what you do. I have been in this situation more times than I can count. And I feel your pain.
You’ve tried everything right? Her diaper is clean. She has been fed, or offered milk or formula. She has slept. You are moving and bouncing and singing and maybe asking her, “Why!? What do you want? What do you need?!” Yes, I’ve done it all.
The first technique: Remain calm.
As hard as this may seem, it is so very important to try your best to keep breathing and keep your head on straight. There is no way you can help your baby if you are pulling your own hairs out. A child can sense your tension a mile away. And if you are trying to calm her down without yourself being calm this is a cycle that will surely end in tears. Breath! Count to five or ten or fifteen, whatever you need to do to settle your own nerves.
We’ll go into some meditative strategies in another post on another day, but for now, just breath.
The second technique: Go outside.
I can not tell you how many times I tried calming a screaming baby for what seemed like hours, only to find that stepping outside did the trick almost instantly.
Sometimes your baby may be crying because of feeling overwhelmed. You would probably start having a meltdown too if you did not understand what you wanted and why you wanted it. There is something about the outdoors that draws in a child’s attention like no other. If it is cold, grab a blanket. If it is hot, strip her down. But I am telling you: the noises, the breeze, the sun, the clouds, these things will shut that baby down very quickly.
Think of a time when you yourself felt overwhelmed and indescribably trapped in a moment. And now think of how you felt or may have felt stepping outside for “a breath of fresh air.”
Yep, it’s universal.
The third technique: Cold suckers.
A child can start teething as early as three months old. I worked with a baby who started teething when he was two months. Most literature will tell you that your child will typically start teething around six months. With that said, most parents will disregard distress in their infant as anything other than teething. Liken a child’s teething experience to that of an adult having their wisdom teeth coming in. If you have experienced this, and I have, then you know the utter discomfort and pain that comes with it. If you haven’t experienced this, just trust us who have. Now imagine you are too young to understand why you are feeling this pain. If your baby is crying with no noticeable reason, perhaps he is teething. Since your baby is likely too young to grasp objects, one step I use to calm him down is holding for him a refrigerated teether, or sucker. Even if your child is not teething, the instant cold sensation on its mouth and gums is likely to distract him enough to move forward. As a tip, I would recommend stocking your fridge with a handful of teethers before your baby hits 2 months.
The fourth technique: Music.
I use musical techniques with my kids on a daily basis. While most nursery music drives me a little coocoo, I find that many artists that I enjoy, my babies enjoy just as much. When your baby is crying with no end in site, you may want to try putting on some soothing jazz or big band or reggae or what-have-you. Sky’s the limit.
Some of my go-to artists include:
The Beach Boys
I will post a playlist of mine in the future.
The fifth technique: Shaded silence.
If all else fails, it is quite possible that your baby is overstimulated. This happens very easily as a child’s mind is trying to learn and understand so many things throughout the day. Too many colors, or noises, or movement can send your baby down a spiral of over-stimulation. If this is the case, taking your baby to a quite, dark area of your house, or outside on the porch at night time can help her mind calm down. Again, put yourself in her shoes and try to picture yourself in a crowded room full of noise and movement. This is how your baby feels most of the time as she is growing. “Stepping out” for a moment helped you right? It can help your baby just the same.
It can be heart wrenching to hear your baby’s cry and not know how to help her. I hope that these five steps help you in soothing your baby when nothing seems to you to be wrong with him or her. And remember: Your mental health is just as important in being able to react to your child’s needs. So BREATH! And once you’ve calmed your baby to sleep, pour yourself a glass of wine!