A dear friend with a one-week old recently asked HOW CAN I SOOTHE MY FUSSY NEWBORN WITHOUT PUTTING A BOOB OR BOTTLE IN HER MOUTH?
Her little one was nursing all.day.long. and mommy was exhausted, sore, and in a bleary-eyed daze that left her challenged to think of other ideas of how to calm her newborn. There are tons of strategies out there but one that we used a lot that isn't usually in the lists you find is to give your baby a tour of your house.
So how do you give a tour of your home to an infant? Just walk slowly around your home and look for simple, high contrast objects to pause and look at (keep bouncing that baby gently when you pause). Think like a newborn - what would you want to look at if you were color-blind, very near-sighted and easily over-stimulated? Just a hunch, but probably not a light-up vibrating monkey toy that someone gave you at your baby shower. Here's are some ideas instead:
1. Ceiling Fans
2. Dark Picture Frames on a Light Wall
3. Drapes or blinds
4. Thermostats, air vents and other objects on the wall
5. A dark pot on a light counter or table
Sounds simple, right? Taking your baby on a tour of your home is one of the simplest ways to distract both of you from whatever is stressing you out. And remember, just because it doesn't work the first time doesn't mean that it might not become one of the most important tools in your baby soothing arsenal.
Why It Works: Walking slowly around the rooms of your home bouncing your baby will give gentle, rhythmic movement that helps calm your infant's nervous system. Holding her in your arms or a soft wrap carrier (we love the Baby K'tan) gives soothing deep pressure, warmth, and the comforting smell of parents. It reduces eye contact, which can be stressful when baby is over-stimulated (did you know that over-stimulated babies will turn away from eye contact?).
But I think one of the keys to this baby hack's effectiveness is that it changes the tone of the parent or caregiver's voice. It's easy to become frustrated or agitated by a crying newborn and to take on a desperate, irritated or distant tone. By giving a tour, you offer a calm voice rambling on about the things you encounter and can de-escalate your OWN emotions. Talking about the ceiling fan, the dining room light fixture, the back door handle will keep YOU calm and your baby will be more likely to match your emotional state.
What other baby tricks do you use when your baby is fussy? Leave a comment to help other new parents and caregivers!
Christmas is right around the corner. If you have a new parent or pregnant mother on your shopping list, why not give them a helpful gift- a CanDo Kiddo Book?
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