There’s nothing more special than welcoming your precious newborn baby into the world! You’ve provided a safe and nurturing environment for your baby to develop and grow within you. Now they’re on the outside and adjusting to a new way of life.
This transition phase and the first few months of a baby’s life is a big adjustment, not only for parents, but for your newborn baby as well. There may be periods of unsettledness and crying. Let me reassure you this is quite normal. As an experienced midwife and naturopath, I would like to share some ways you can settle your newborn baby.
Feeding Your Baby
Your newborn baby may be crying because it’s hungry. Try feeding more frequently if your baby is constantly crying. Because their tummy is so little, they may prefer to feed more frequently. Be sure to burp your baby by propping them upright and patting their back gently. This will help to release any wind that may be causing tummy upsets.
While breast milk provides all your baby’s nutritional needs, you should be mindful of the food and drink you consume. Research has shown your diet can affect your breast milk and can be absorbed by your newborn baby. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, highly processed and spicy food.
Deep Warm Bath
Giving your newborn baby a warm deep bath with a drop of calming essential oil such as lavender can help settle your crying baby. It’s also a time where you or your partner can use eye contact and skin contact to create a positive, relaxing and comforting interaction with your baby.
Swaddle & Rock Your Baby
Your newborn baby has been so used to living in a confined space within you and they may find comfort in being swaddled. Ensure you use a cool cotton or muslin cloth so they don’t overheat. Once they’re swaddled you can gently rock your baby to replicate the movement of being inside you.
Sometimes a newborn baby can respond and calm their crying simply by having their nappy changed. If they are wet or soiled they may feel uncomfortable and irritated.
Massage Baby’s Tummy
Your newborn baby may have some wind build up in their tummy which is making them uncomfortable. Gently massage your baby’s tummy in a clockwise direction for up to 5 minutes to help settle the crying.
Try a variety of positions when holding your newborn baby. You can try lying them on your chest, with or without clothes, as sometimes skin contact can help settle your baby. Alternatively, you can try holding them upright, on your arm/legs with their tummy face down or rocking them in your arms.
Take a Break
I know it can be difficult for parents trying to adjust to life with a newborn baby. There’s lots to learn and it can be very overwhelming. If you have a baby who constantly cries it can put extra pressure on you, your emotions and your relationships. Let those around you know that you need a short break – most partners, friends or family will completely understand. Take some time out and go for a walk, take a much needed nap or get some professional help if you feel like you’re not coping. PANDA supports women, men and families affected by anxiety and depression during pregnancy and in the first year of parenthood.
If you’ve tried everything and your newborn baby still cries constantly, I recommend seeking professional help. There may be something more to your baby’s crying such as colic, reflux, allergies or digestive problems. To learn more about my services to support mothers and babies, click here.
The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) have a podcast available by Paediatrician, Dr Valeri Sung, who works in the RCH unsettled babies clinic, that is specific to crying and unsettled babies. Click here to listen to the podcast.
Just remember you and your baby are going through an adjustment period. As a new parent you may find crying and unsettledness difficult to understand. However, with time and patience you will learn more about your baby, and become confident in meeting their needs.
Contact me to book an appointment and find out how naturopathy can help with post-partum recovery and supporting you and your family’s health naturally.