Having a cranky baby, whether it is because he or she is too tired or overwhelmed and stressed by something, can be a very frustrating situation for a parent. Particularly if it is cutting into any rest and relaxation you might need to stay at the top of your game. It can be hard to figure out what to do to help calm your baby or to get them to sleep when they are overtired or cranky. What are some ideas that you can try? Here’s a short list.
Snuggle and Cuddle
Many babies will eventually calm down when they are being held and cuddled by a parent. Being secure and snuggled close can help ease any nerves or stress they might be feeling. Skin on skin contact can also help if they are really fussy. Try swaddling him or her before holding them close. Being wrapped up tightly can remind them of being in the womb where they were safe and warm.
Unless your baby really doesn’t like bath time, a warm bath with soothing strokes of a soft washcloth can help relax your baby. This can be a great nightly routine to calm him or her before bedtime so he or she will sleep better and longer.
One thing that can be really important is to dress your baby in soft, natural materials that won’t irritate his or her skin. If your baby isn’t comfortable in his or her clothes, they aren’t going to be calm and happy. This is also important when choosing pajamas for your baby. If his or her pajamas are chafing skin, a good night's sleep isn’t going to happen.
Speak Softly and Soothingly
Your baby has been used to hearing your voice since long before he or she was born. He or she is also used to hearing your heartbeat and other noises from your body as well. Talking softly to him or her to help them calm down can be reassuring and comforting to an upset baby.
Just like a massage feels good to you, a massage can be relaxing and feel good to your baby. Using soft pressure and long soothing strokes can help your baby feel connected and help him or her to release tension and feel less stressed. This can be done any time but can be a great nightly routine to help baby feel relaxed and ready for sleep.
If you are trying to help your baby calm down and fall asleep at bedtime, it is important to remove the things that are stimulating to him or her. Keep the crib free of extra toys and stuffed animals, especially anything that could be choked on or be a suffocation hazard. One of the most stimulating things for your baby is eye contact with you. By avoiding making direct eye contact with your baby at bedtime, you can help them fall asleep faster.