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Soothing Your Crying Baby

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Your Crying Baby: Meet Her Basic Needs continued...

Use white noise. The womb was a very noisy place. Not so long ago, your baby heard that noise 24 hours a day. Sometimes your baby can be calmed by "white noise" -- that is, noise that is continuous and uniform, such as that of a heartbeat, the rain, static between radio stations, and your vacuum cleaner. Some alarm clocks even have a white noise function.

Let your crying baby have something to suck on. The most natural pacifier is mother's breast, but when that isn't an option, a bottle, pacifier, baby's own fingers, a teething toy, or Daddy's pinkie can work wonders as a means of comfort.

Play music. Soft, peaceful music is a wonderful baby calmer. That's why lullabies have been passed down through the ages. You don't have to be a professional singer to provide your baby with a song; your baby just loves to hear your voice. In addition to your own songs, babies usually love to hear any kind of music. Experiment with different types of tunes, since babies have their own favorites that can range from jazz to country to classical, and even rock and rap.

Massage your crying baby. Babies love to be touched and stroked, so a massage is a wonderful way to calm a fussy baby. A variation of massage is the baby pat; many babies love a gentle, rhythmic pat on their backs or bottoms.

Distract your crying baby. Sometimes a new activity or change of scenery -- maybe a walk outside, or a dance with a song, or a splashy bath -- can be very helpful in turning a fussy baby into a happy one.

Your Crying Baby: Start by Soothing Yourself

Jennifer Shu and Laura Jana, authors of Heading Home with Your Newborn, suggest that along with soothing your infant, you need to soothe yourself. "It helps to try and stay calm, because a stressed-out parent can make the crying worse instead of better," they say.

"Give it time," they add. Some amount of crying is to be expected, and it's okay to put your baby down for a few minutes so you don't get so frustrated that you can't do much good (or worse, feel like hitting or shaking your baby).

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