I remember the day like it was yesterday. All of my postpartum “help” had returned to work and I was left at home with my new baby. Our first day together went mostly smooth, but at one point, she started crying, seemingly, uncontrollably. Her diaper was changed. I assumed I had just fed her. And she was not that tired. “So what else could it be?” I rocked with her, sang songs, danced with her, and called my mom asking for help. “What do I do?”
We got through the day and many others, and now with two children, the memories of that time seem so unreal. But they were really real. And the stress of that time is really fresh in my brain.
Given my experiences as a very new mom and horror at the thought of a crying baby, I wanted to offer this post to all new parents. Along with knowing that babies need to sleep a lot and eat and poop and pee often, know that babies do cry. Hearing a baby’s cry is stressful, but with newborns especially, know that she is crying for a reason.
So if your baby is crying, try any of these tactics:
- Check your baby’s diaper. As you can probably imagine, wet and poo poo diapers are uncomfortable and feel icky.
- Offer your baby something to eat, as 8 times out of 10, at least in my experience, they’re crying because they are hungry or thirsty.
- Relax. Trust me when I say that your baby can pick up from your cues. If you are stressed, then so to will be your baby.
- Give your baby a nice, warm soothing bath.
- If you’ve tried everything and are starting to panic, don’t! Call someone to ask for help or give yourself a break. When doing the latter, put your baby in a safe place and leave the room for a few minutes to calm down and regroup.
- Strap your baby up in their car seat and take them for a ride in the car. This will not only be good for your baby, but also for you!
- Talk calmly to your baby or sing a gentle song to them.
- Hold your baby, rubbing their back or patting it with rhythmic pats.
- Give your baby a tummy massage, bicycle their legs, or lay them on their back and massage their back. This will help relieve any gas or digestion discomfort.
Most importantly, don’t panic. And don’t allow yourself to buy into the myth that your baby’s tears are a gauge of your abilities to parent. You are a good parent and your can do this! Just take some deep breaths, go with the flow, and you’ll be fine. I promise.