Settling your baby

Published by Baby Bunting on Sunday, January 27, 2019

Of all the challenges that a newborn brings, settling them can be one of the most trying. Of course, this is made much harder by the fact that your baby can't yet tell you what's upsetting them. But with a bit of patience and observation, you'll come to understand what works best for calming your baby and settling any grizzling.

Why do babies cry?

The only way a newborn can communicate and reach out for your help is to cry. This is important to understand – as your baby grows they will develop meaningful facial expressions, control of their body language and finally the ability to express themselves through signs, sounds and speech.

So try not to feel distressed when your baby cries; a healthy baby will usually do so when they’re feeling hungry or tired or when they just need to be held.

Don’t be afraid to ‘spoil’ your baby

Far from spoiling your newborn, picking them up and meeting their needs when they cry is understood to make them easier and more likely to settle long term. It’s also a good way of learning exactly what they need. Although babies cry usually because they’re hungry, you’ll also learn what your baby responds to when they’re simply feeling unsettled.

Offering a feed

Always feel free to offer your baby a feed when they’re crying. Place them next to your chest with your breast or a bottle and press your skin against their cheek to test out their feeding, or ‘rooting’, reflex. Babies can feed up to every two hours – and sometimes multiple times over a few. Let them take the lead on how much they feed and when they need it. Once you understand their feeding routine, you’ll be able to offer them a feed before they’re crying out for one.

Play music or white noise

Although music or white noise can be calming for you, it can also be calming for your baby. Feel free to play it while around the house or when you’re putting them down to sleep. If you play it while you’re feeding, your baby may come to associate the sound with the satisfaction of being fed.

Cradle your baby or rock them

By sitting with your baby in a rocking chair or simple cradling them close to your chest, your baby is likely to settle to the motion and the sense of security they feel from being close to you. Don’t understate what this does for you either; these moments of contact and closeness are pivotal to strengthening the bond you share.

Try something new

Go for a drive with your baby, take them out for a stroll in the pram or put them in a carrier and go for a walk. There are many ways to settle your baby and the more you try, the more understanding you’ll gain of your baby’s personality and preferences. And once your baby’s settled, you can take them to their cot and lay them gently down to sleep.

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