Why is it that those adorable babies in the baby products commercials are ALWAYS smiling and happy? Out in the real world, babies are NOT always smiling and happy. Babies fuss. They become fretful and above all, babies CRY — and loudly!
A baby’s cry is actually a miracle of nature. A baby cries automatically, and crying isn’t a conscious decision. When the baby senses a need, the normal and automatic reaction is to sharply and suddenly inhale air and then to forcefully exhale that air. The air vibrates the vocal cords, and the sound produced is what we call a cry.
A baby’s cry is very effective, too. The sound gets the attention of every hearing ear in the vicinity, and particularly the attention of the baby’s mommy (or other caregiver).
Adults have been soothing crying and fussy infants since the dawn of time. The four long-used and successful techniques for soothing a fussy baby are:
- Rhythmic (rocking) motion
- Soothing and calming sound (talking or singing softly)
- Visual distractions (refocus the attention on something interesting)
- Holding the fussy infant
Just like a baby’s cry is automatic, it seems that these means of comfort giving are also rather automatic among human adults.
The sucking action is also calming to a fussy infant. Nourishment as a result of the sucking action isn’t always necessary. (Think pacifier.) Swaddling is another method of soothing a fussy baby, particularly a newborn. The womb was a perfect fit, and the baby liked it. Just simply wrapping a baby tightly will provide him with comfort and stop the fussing at least temporarily. The point is that if one thing (rocking) doesn’t soothe the baby, try another technique. Try the techniques in combination until you find the “right way” (according to the baby) to comfort your fussy infant.