Before I had my first child, I had zero real experience taking care of a baby.
I was banking on those so-called maternal instincts to kick in, and therefore was quite terrified when I realized that a bunch of those things new moms are supposed to “just know” actually don’t come naturally to a lot of us!
So when my baby boy arrived, I kept a mental checklist of all the soothing techniques I had read about and tried them out as needed to see which ones worked for him.
My second child is now ten months old, and that mental checklist of baby-soothing techniques has stayed with me. Indeed, I’ve been significantly more calm and confident as a mom the second time around—in large part thanks to this handy little list.
In the spirit of spreading the wealth, I’ve taken all my techniques and turned them into this convenient printable checklist.
Got a friend who’s a first-time mom-to-be?
Send it her way so she can hang it on her fridge during those first few crazy weeks with a newborn.
Baby staying with a sitter for the first time?
Print this out and highlight the strategies that work best for your unique little one.
Grandparents out of practice?
Give them this list to help them brush up on their soothing techniques.
Your fussy baby will be smiling in no time!
Here’s the list in its entirely. To download the printable version, just click on the image at the end of this post.
29 Ways to Soothe a Fussy Baby
Are baby’s basic needs met?
1. Feed baby.
2. Change baby’s diaper.
3. Put baby down for a nap.
4. Burp baby.
Is baby in good health?
Help a gassy baby
5. Bicycle baby’s legs while she lies on her back.
6. Lay baby down across your knees and gently rub his back.
7. Ask your pediatrician about using infant gas drops.
Check for fever
8. Ask your pediatrician about using infant pain reliever to reduce fever.
Relieve teething pain
9. Offer baby a teething ring or toy to chew on.
10. Ask your pediatrician about using infant pain reliever to reduce teething pain.
(Do you know these eight signs of teething?)
Does baby want to cuddle?
11. Hold baby close, skin-to-skin if possible.
12. Swaddle baby.
13. Wear baby in a wrap or carrier.
14. Offer baby the comfort of a pacifier.
Would baby like some motion?
15. Gently bounce or swing baby.
16. Take baby for a walk in a stroller or baby carrier.
17. Go for a car ride.
18. Place baby in a baby swing or bouncy chair.
Does baby need some sound?
19. Make a “shushing” sound close to baby’s ear.
20. Turn on some white noise. (We love this baby sound machine for mimicking the sound of mama’s heartbeat—just like in the womb!)
21. Play some music or sing to baby.
Is baby physically uncomfortable?
22. Check baby’s temperature. Is she too hot or too cold?
23. Undress baby, in case a clothing tag or the clothing material is bothering him.
24. Go outside and get baby some fresh air.
See if baby is over-stimulated.
25. Stop making eye contact with baby.
26. Remove toys and other stimuli.
27. Dim the lights.
See if baby is under-stimulated.
28. Talk to and interact directly with baby.
29. Show baby toys and household items.
Baby still fussy?
Talk to your pediatrician to rule out any medical issues.
And remember: Just because one technique didn’t work today doesn’t mean it won’t work tomorrow or next week. So keep trying!