WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR BABY JUST WON’T SETTLE?
There are going to be days when your baby just won’t settle and you’ll need to stay flexible and respond in the way they need you to. It’s common for babies to have periods of unsettled behavior and there are many reasons why they may be feeling this way. It’s not always easy to know the cause but you might be able to work out what they need by listening to their cry and running through the following checklist;
- Is my baby hungry and due for feeding? Think about where they are in their Sleep-Feed-Uptime Cycle.
- Does my baby need to burp? Try holding your baby upright and patting them on their back.
- Does my baby have a wet or dirty diaper or do they have a rash?
- Is my baby overtired? Think about where they are in their Sleep-Feed-Uptime Cycle.
- Is my baby cold or too warm, or could they be uncomfortable in what they’re wearing? Check how warm or cold your baby is by feeling their back or tummy.
- Is my baby not feeling well? Always check to see whether they are showing any symptoms of not feeling well or consider that they may be sick. Check to see if they have a temperature and consider whether they’re teething or feeling some pain. Fever, ear infections, sore throats, UTIs, upset tummies are unpleasant for everyone, regardless of age. If you have any concerns about your baby’s health, don’t be afraid to make an appointment with your baby’s doctor.
- Does your baby need some lambing? Try holding your baby in a cradle position, calmly rocking or bouncing.
If you’ve worked through the checklist, and also tried the settling methods we covered in lesson 12, and your baby still isn’t settling you could try putting them in their stroller and go for a walk, give them a calming warm bath, help them find their hand or teether to suck on for self-soothing or give a gentle, whole body massage including around your baby’s tummy.
On the hard days, feel confident to do whatever you need to do to help your baby feel better. It’s okay to be flexible with your routines and strategies if you need to. If your baby needs you to cuddle or rock them to sleep, that’s fine. If you need to feed them to sleep, that’s fine too. When your baby is feeling more settled, you can go back to your usual rhythm, routine, and strategies.
On the days when your baby is more unsettled, remember they can sense how you’re feeling too. If you’re feeling frustrated or anxious, your baby will pick up on it and it can make it even harder for them to settle. Giving yourself a chance to take a break for a few minutes by getting some fresh air or getting yourself a cup of tea, may help you to feel more recharged to continue helping your baby to settle.