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How do I calm my fussy baby?

Babies cry to tell us what they need. Crying can mean they are tired, hungry, cold, hot, sick, scared, or bored. Babies tend to cry less when you respond quickly with soothing actions. Here are some ways to calm your baby.

Breastfeed — this can calm you and your baby.
  • Watch for early hunger cues like sucking on hands, or rooting. Crying is a late stage of hunger.
  • If your baby is crying, cuddling or rocking may quiet him enough so that he can breastfeed.
  • Breastfeed in a quiet room and away from distractions.
  • Try different nursing positions. Some babies breastfeed better in one position than another, especially if mom has a forceful letdown. Ask a lactation counselor for some positioning tips to lessen a forceful letdown.
  • Be patient and relax.
  • Keep breastfeeding. Your milk is good for your baby.
  • Let baby finish feeding on one side before switching. Offer the other side, but if baby doesn't take, begin with that side at the next feeding. Changing sides back and forth and too soon can result in baby getting more foremilk which can result in a fussy, gassy baby.
  • If fussiness is especially persistent, see a lactation counselor or dietitian; certain foods in your diet may be causing baby some discomfort.
Check your baby's clothing.
  • Change your baby's diaper.
  • Check to make sure your baby's clothing is not too tight, too warm, or too cold.
  • Wrap your baby snugly in a blanket.
Talk, sing or hum in a soft and reassuring voice.
Gently touch your baby.
  • Hold your undressed baby next to your bare skin.
  • Learn infant massage - diaper time can be a good time to gently rub your baby's legs and tummy. Try infant massage between fussy times.
Gently move your baby.
  • Rock your baby.
  • Burp your baby
  • Wear your baby! Carry your baby in a baby sling or infant carrier.
  • Take your baby for a stroller or car ride.
Is baby teething?
Check for fever or other signs that your baby may be sick.
  • Contact your doctor if you think your baby is sick.

Have family and friends help around the house so that you can give baby extra attention. Take time for yourself!

Adapted from WI Department of Health Services Division of Public Health's Breastfeeding-7:Fussy Baby