TEN WAYS TO CALM DOWN A CRANKY NEWBORN AT NIGHT

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Your children are the loves of your life. But infancy is a phase that is as vexing and strenuous as it is adorable. Infants are prone to several sorts of ailments, and the only way they can communicate their discomfort is through crying. It can be quite the ordeal trying to get your child to calm down, especially at night, when you’re trying to get that hard-earned snooze. But fret no more, because, with a little patience, discernment and the 10 methods given below, you’ll be able to handle your infant no matter what. Read on to know more.

IDENTIFYING THE PROBLEM

So in order to soothe your child, you need to know what it is that ails it. These are some of the most common issues that might be the reason for your infant’s tears.

  • 1. COLIC :
  • Colic can be defined as episodes of crying that last for at least three hours a day, for at least three days a week, and for three weeks. The causes of colic are not very clearly known. Sometimes it is due to gastrointestinal discomfort (lactose intolerance, constipation). A lot of confusion arises among parents when trying to identify what distresses their child and they often mistakenly assume it to be colic. Colic occurs mostly in newborns, so if your child is more than 5 months in age, you can rule this out.

  • 2. OVERTIREDNESS :
  • This can be explained as simply: a messy sleep schedule. Scheduling a pattern of sleep for newborns is tough work. Until a certain point in their growth (which is around 4 months), they have an erratic order. So when your child misses its window of sleep, it is overcome with tiredness and cannot sleep any more. Unlike adults, babies do not have coping mechanisms for this. Their only response to the fatigue is through crying which further worsens their condition.

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Baby 
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  • 3. OVERSTIMULATION :
  • Babies require stimuli to understand their surroundings better and for better growth and development. But they are infants, after all and cannot take in an excess of stimuli. Their senses aren’t fully developed to process all this and a sensory overload can prove too much for them. If the environment where your infant is situated has a lot of noise, or people or lights, which can prove jarring for the newborn, this leads to overstimulation.

  • 4. HUNGER :
  • A lot of babies have the tendency to cluster feed in the evening, i.e. to feed more in the evening than they do all day. So your baby’s cries could be the result of hunger pangs.

Now, other than the abovementioned causes, there are also other probable causes, like teething, soiled diapers, rashes and the like. Be on the lookout for these.

SOLUTIONS

So when your baby begins to cry, depending on the problem at hand, there are different approaches you can take. These can be unique to your child and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide. Still, we’ve complied advice from several parenting forums and websites to give you 10 solutions that work more often than not.

  • 1. COVER IT UP :
  • The idea behind this is to give the infant the impression of snugness and warmth similar to that of the womb. Here you can swaddle it up, or wrap it up in a blanket or place it in a baby sling. Hold it close to you, so that your infant feels your body's warmth. This should help soothe it and calm it down.

  • 2. ROCK IT :
  • No, don’t get us wrong here. What we mean are gentle exercises that involve rhythmic motion. The womb isn’t inert and so exercises like rocking help your child experience a similarly soothing effect.

    Perhaps walking with your child, or using a rocking chair, or perhaps even a slow stroll in the car can help.

  • 3. MODULATE THE STIMULI OF THE ENVIRONMENT :
  • When overstimulation is the problem, shift the child to an environment with less stimuli like a dark, quiet room for example. You could perhaps use white noise to help it calm down. White noise here includes basic sounds like the slow whirring of a fan, the sound of rainfall (use recordings), and so forth.

  • 4. SLEEP CYCLES :
  • Now overtiredness is something common to most babies, so it is essential that you monitor and regulate the sleep cycles of the infant. The number of naps a child takes, the duration of these naps (no more than 3 hours), the time gap between naps and bedtimes are all to be considered. These vary as per age. Also note the window of sleep for your infant. Regulating sleep helps as a precaution against overtiredness.

  • 5. FEEDING :
  • Keep track of your child’s feeding times and signs of hunger it displays. But be careful, do not overfeed your baby as too much milk can also make it uncomfortable. Keep a gap of at least 2 hours between feeding sessions. Diet incompatibility is also a potential problem. If the infant is breastfed, mothers must make changes in their diet. If bottle-fed, try changing the formula.

  • 6. GAS PAIN :
  • The baby might be suffering discomfort from accumulated gas. Here, lay the baby on your knees and rub across its back or turn its legs in a pedal like motion to help it relieve itself.

  • 7. MASSAGES :
  • Sometimes, these do just the trick. Try massaging your baby gently to get him to quieten up.

  • 8. DIAPER CHECKS :
  • Newborns soil their diapers pretty often and a soiled diaper can prove pretty uncomfortable. So, be regular in changing their diapers. Also diaper rash is a potential irritant, so changing brands should help.

  • 9. PACIFIERS :
  • Pacifiers help newborns to engage their need of stimuli. By focusing and expending energy on the pacifier, a cranky newborn can be relaxed. And they do not impact your child negatively whatsoever.

  • 10. TAKE A BREAK :
  • Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might not be able to identify what the problem is. Your child’s crankiness is draining the last few reserves of your patience. You might feel tempted to vent the rising frustration. But do not do so, especially on the child. Take a break. Have your partner take over. Try listening to music. You might need peace more than your child does. Sometimes, if your child is crying for no particular reason, it helps to leave it alone. It will cry itself to sleep. As the saying goes, the baby can’t fall off the floor.

    There are no quick-fix approaches to deal with a cranky child, but who ever said parenting was easy? It takes patience, concentration and continued effort to get your child to ease up. Different approaches work for different infants. Through trial and error, find what works for you. But if the late night crankiness still persists and is accompanied by fever, or vomiting, do not persist with your soothing, have a doctor look at your infant.

    So what did you think of this? Has this helped? What do you do when your child begins its nocturnal wails? Let us know!

- Written By
Rahul Jose

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