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Tips for Calming a Fussy Baby

Babies fuss for a number of reasons — or for no reason at all. Your baby may cry if he's hungry or wants to be held. He may fuss if he's uncomfortable, doesn't like the sounds or sights around him, or simply needs to release tension. Sometimes a simple snuggle does the trick and sometimes nothing seems to work. But there are a few tricks you can try to help calm your fussy child when all else fails.

Learn His Different Cries

Just like you, your baby expresses himself in various ways. Not all cries or fussy moments mean the same. Learning to distinguish between them can help you figure out what he needs. A hunger cry usually rises and falls and is short and low-pitched, explains HealthyChildren.org. A sudden, loud cry can mean pain or discomfort, while a turbulent tone and clenched fists can mean anger. Whatever the reasons for his fussy moments, respond quickly to his distress. It reassures him and may mean less fussiness in the future.

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Dealing with Colic

While the definitive causes of colic are unknown, if your infant is colicky, there are several ways to help relieve his discomfort. Place your infant along your forearm, face down with his legs straddling your elbow and his cheek nestled in your palm. The website AskDrSears recommends this position to help relax your baby's tense tummy. You can hold your little one securely in your arms while you sit on an exercise ball and gently bounce up and down. Try a nice warm bath for two or have Dad lie on the bed or floor with your baby — the skin-to-skin and tummy-to-tummy sensations are naturally calming. The calm, repetitive up-and-down motion of your husband's belly as he breathes may do the trick to soothe your anxious child to sleep.


Moving your baby provides distraction while the rhythmic movement can lull and soothe her distress. Put on some music and dance your child around the floor, or try walking and rocking while you nurse. Another movement that is known to be soother involves holding your child close while swaying and moving your body in wide arcs and circles. Or initiate a change of scenery by putting your infant in a front carrier and taking her outside for a walk or a few relaxing minutes on a porch swing. Some good vibrations might also do the trick — place your baby in her car seat or carrier and securely hold her on a running dryer. The vibration may soothe her to sleep.

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Stay Calm

Keeping your cool during your baby's fussy moments can be easier said than done. But the more relaxed you are, the easier it is to assess the situation. Your calm or stressed out demeanor can also rub off on your child. The more intense you are, the fussier your baby may become. Take a few deep breaths before coming to her aid. If it's been a particularly harrowing day, ask for help from your spouse, a family member or a friend. Sometimes a new face can change your child's outlook. Remember that all babies fuss and it's not a reflection on your parenting ability.

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