Checklist – Before moving to any soothing techniques, check the necessities: are they fed? do they have a wet or dirty diaper? is something hurting them (like a zipper or tag)? are they tired? It could be that your baby just needs something!
Pick up, stand up – The simplest thing to try first. Pick up your baby and hold them close while standing. Sometimes, this is all it takes.
Rhythmic movement – No professional dance moves necessary. Rocking, bouncing, walking, swaying, or swinging (in your arms) are all types of rhythmic movements effective at calming babies.
Held, chest to chest – Babies often feel the most calm when they are closest to you. Holding your baby chest-to-chest with you, either in your arms or with the use of an infant carrier allows them to receive the warmth of your body and hear your heartbeat, both of which are regulating. Bonus if you and baby are skin-to-skin!
Singing – Babies love the sound of their parents’ voices. Singing softly to your baby can help them calm and quiet down. You don’t even need a good singing voice — promise! If you just can’t bring yourself to carry a tune, try talking to your baby in a quiet, sing-song voice.
Steady, white noise – Shushing sounds, a fan (not blowing on baby), a sound machine , or anything that offer a constant, low decibel noise can soothe baby, possibly because it mimics sounds heard in the womb.
Patting and rubbing – Touch is one of the most critical needs for all humans, and especially for infants. Patting baby on the back, or stroking baby’s back or tummy can be a great way to help baby feel more at ease.
Environment – Are the lights too bright? TV too loud? Air conditioning or heat to high? Too many visitors? It could be that your baby is fussy because they are overstimulated. Try reducing the amount of stimulation to see if it makes a difference.
Take turns – If someone else is available to hand baby off to, do it. Soothing a fussy baby is tiring and stressful work. Plus, your baby might respond well to the change!
Swaddling – Many babies respond positively to being wrapped tight in a blanket. Be sure not to swaddle too tight and keep an eye on baby’s temperature so as not to overheat. Always lay baby on their back for safe sleeping.
Fussiness is a normal part of babyhood, but if it continues for hours at a time, it’s important to talk with your baby’s pediatrician. There could be a health issue causing extended fussiness.