It’s Tuesday afternoon. The toddler is set up for another hour of play before nap time and the coffee is brewing. You have just fed baby and things are looking good for staying on baby schedule. Then it hits you: you need to use the bathroom. There is nothing you can do but put baby down. You promise it will be for just ONE minute. Things are looking good so far. You’ve placed him down in his bassinet and he is calm. You set up a few toys around him so she can play. The light is on so she doesn’t confuse it with nap-time. Things are all set. You slowly edge toward the door of the baby room ensuring him you will be right back. A few steps down the hall and…*commence screaming*. There is no turning back now. You have to go and he has to wait. Unfortunately, by the time you return he is now in such a state of deep crying that it is going to take some work to bring him back. You have to hurry because now your toddler is taking notice of increasingly loud crying baby and is becoming irritated herself. If you don’t do something soon, you will have two crying babies on your hands and that’s never good. At this very moment, you remember the blog post you just read on how to stop a crying baby and you are filled with relief! You pull it up on your screen and see just what to do:
BLOW IN THEIR FACE
This usually acts like more a “snapping them out of it for a quick second” rather than a long-term solution. It is, however, very useful if you need them to open their eyes long enough to: look at themselves in the mirror (my little on LOVES this), see that you are holding up their favorite stuffed animal, or notice that you are preparing their ever so coveted milk. This is not meant to be a hurricane/blustery type of blow but more of a nice day at the beach, wind in my hair type of blow.
DO THE ROLLER-COASTER JOSTLE
This has a 99% success rate and has the added benefit of toning your legs while you’re at it. It is mostly useful for sleepy babies or infants who just need that extra push, though it can be used for other fussy situations as well. To implement the “roller-coaster jostle” as I like to call it, you will need about an arm’s length of space clear on either side of you. Take the baby in your arms either facing in or facing out, lying down or sitting up, whichever way they enjoy most. Now instead of just a mere jostle and the ever-so-popular “shhh”, try dipping low into a squat (while remaining upright) and back up again. This creates the sensation of a mini roller-coaster for the little tot and usually works quickly with or without the “shhh”. To really be successful this needs to be done at a fairly moderate pace (not too fast or too slow) and for a consistent amount of time. If it is not working right away, do not give up! I would give it about 10 minutes before moving on to another technique.
GO FOR A STROLLER OR ERGO RIDE
When it comes to raising baby, a stroller or ergo ride can do wonders! But as wonderful as these two inventions are that these can quickly turn into crutches and become a habit which the baby will specifically cry for until he gets it. So be weary of turning to this option every time you have a fussy baby on your hands. Once you get into a baby habit it is pretty painful to back out of (we will talk more on that soon).
The ergo is fabulous for those rainy or blustery days when you just cannot get out with baby. Simply put the ergo on, strap the baby in, and take them along with you as you go about your daily duties. Note to nanny: In your hurry to stop crying baby, do not place your baby in the ergo with a dirty diaper. It may squish up his back and all over the ergo. Take it from me, check the diaper first! 🙂 Using the ergo with the roller-coaster jostle, you will have him calm in no time! If it is a lovely day outside, I would definitely suggest taking him out in the stroller. You will be delighted by the warm sun on your face and the fresh air and be in a better state to handle crying baby.
SING OR HUM A SPECIAL TUNE
I have found songs grab baby’s attention best when they are coupled also with signs or hand motions. For example: the itsy-bitsy spider or twinkle-twinkle little star. These are both fairly common children songs and so are the motions that go along with them. The trick is to get baby quiet enough so they can begin to hear your singing and their eyes open long enough to see your hand motions (insert blowing in his face here). When singing children songs, especially with hand motions, the more animated the better. The more you are enjoying yourself and creating a world of fun learning, the more he will enjoy himself and try to join in on the fun. In my experience, signing while singing to a child is one of the most effective ways to teach both language and concept to a child.
CREATE SOME FACE TIME
I don’t know about you, but I have learned that there are times when the little one cries just to be seen. Many of us, including me, get so busy in the to do’s (laundry, dishes, cleaning big sisters mess in her room or just taking a bite to eat for ourselves) that baby begins to beg for attention. Now, here are those times where they just need to wait. This should not be a ‘every time my baby cries I run to her’ scenario. It is crucial, though, especially in those first 12 months, that we are purposeful in giving that personal response to their facial and vocal communication. This is one of my favorites to stop crying baby because the most smiles and laughs are created here.
So you decided to go with steps 2 and 4. Baby is smiling, the toddler is playing, you are now sipping your afternoon cup of joe. Things are still on track for your 2:30 pm nap time bless. Life is good again.
I hope one of these works for you! I know it’s not easy, but the most important jobs aren’t, so keep at it!
What are your best tips for how to handle a crying baby? Let me know in the comments below!