How to calm a newborn
Knowing how to calm a newborn during your first weeks together can greatly impact your outlook on parenting a new baby, and decrease fussy time for baby. Learning a handful of a newborn's needs, and even signals as to what may be bothering them, can can be easier than you think! Keep reading for some of the best tips I've learned during my nearly thirteen years in business as a newborn photographer, which would have been nice to know when my girls were babies!
Basic Needs of a Newborn
Your new baby has some basic needs which ensure his or her health and happiness. A newborn's basic needs can dramatically impact how calm or upset a sweet baby is behaving, and how calm Mama is feeling. I will discuss a few basic newborn needs below. Hopefully these will help ease your first weeks together.
Is your baby hungry?
Knowing how often your baby should be eating is important. A pediatrician can give you detailed information in regard to how often and how much you can expect your new baby to eat. (Here is a list of some of Chicago's top Pediatricians.) Learning signals of hunger can help, which can shorten the amount of time a baby spends trying to communicate hunger, aka, fussing. One easy to recognize hunger signal is a fist. If your baby is fussy and has a clenched fist, take a look at the clock. If it has been more than 1.5 hours since the last feeding began, it may be time to eat.
Does your baby need a diaper change?
A dirty diaper can be uncomfortable. The baby's delicate skin is very sensitive. Staying damp or dirty for too long can cause a diaper rash. Dive on in to see if a fresh diaper for your baby will help. Now is a good time to spend a moment connecting. Baby's thrive on human touch and connection! In spite of frequent changes, a rash can happen. Here is a link to our favorite diaper rash cream.
Is your newborn tired?
It is common for babies to fuss as they fall asleep. Though it seems counterintuitive, babies often fight sleep! Swaddling a tired, fussy baby is a wonderful way to help them give in to the Zzzz's. Think your newborn does not like to be swaddled? Heck, I was sure my third daughter did not like a swaddle, too. However, I have not met one newborn in 12+ years of business who does not like a swaddle. Now that I know how to swaddle like a pro, it is clear babies love a good swaddle! Here is a quick link to a video offering swaddling tips: How to Swaddle a Baby
Here are a handful of other considerations to review when determining how to calm your newborn.
Does your baby seem uncomfortable? Gassy? All babies burp, but some don't have an easy time of it. Not burping easily can result in excess gas buildup, and an unhappy love bug. There are videos all over social media with incredible burping techniques for harder to burp babies. I suggest using the search engine to explore options, but here is are a couple of my favorite techniques I use in the studio. The second technique shown is my magic go-to! How to Burp Baby
Wondering if your baby may be overstimulated? If you have met all your baby's basic needs and swaddling didn't work, try helping baby calm by dimming lights, going to a quiet place, and gently rocking baby. Some times we all want a moment of calm, including our new souls!
Is your baby bored or looking for connection? Babies can't say, "Mom, will you talk to me or snuggle me?", so they cry. Yep, they are simply seek attention at times. Love on that sweet baby, because you can't spoil them, just yet. 😉
The Happiest Baby on the Block
The Happiest Baby on the Block is an incredible resource for new parents, nannies, grandparents and relatives alike!!! Seriously, you can thank me later. The Happiest Baby on the Block is offered in book format, but it is worth your time and pennies to watch the video. Created by a Pediatrician, these five S's are game changers when it comes to calming a fussy baby. The video format offers great visuals and hearing the level of volume used is eye-opening. Here is a link to a blog post about the five S's if you'd like to start there. You will be amazed like I was about twelve years ago when a dear friend "S'd" her fussy baby to sleep in SECONDS!
Understanding Your Baby's Cries
Science has proven babies are communicating specific needs with their cries. It's mind blowing, and so helpful! It may seem difficult to distinguish one cry from another at first. Some of that is due to our desire to jump up at the first sign of fussing. Take a quick minute to listen for the sound your baby is making. Take a look at the shape of his or her mouth as she makes these sounds. I'm telling you, learning your baby's cries will be a game changer! You can read about a baby's five different cries HERE.
Swaddling like a pro
If I had to guess, I'd say about 75% of my clients comment on being blown away at the swaddling that takes place in the studio. Swaddling creates a similar condition to that of the womb, their home of 9+ months. Quetzalli's images are great examples of the types of swaddling I do at the studio (These techniques are not for home use.). She was incredibly calm and content for her session, as are most of my newborns. I believe it is because I start every session with time in a swaddle. This allows them time to get used to me touching them and gently moving them around. Take a look at Quetzalli's smile and relaxed fingers/hands. She was putty in my hands!