Few things terrify new parents like a fussy baby who won’t quiet down. Is it colic? Did you stick them with a diaper pin? Could it be something more serious?
A sick baby typically warrants a trip to the doctor if they have a fever or their illness lasts more than a few days. However, you can take care of minor issues at home. Here are six tips to help new parents manage discomfort in newborns.
It’s always a little concerning when your little one doesn’t eat. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding your infant until they reach 6 months, preferably the entire first year. However, you might have to turn to formula to keep your baby fed if you return to the workplace quickly.
While most commercial formulas contain complete nutrition for your infant, they aren’t created equal in terms of taste. Your baby might refuse a particular brand they don’t like. However, they’re too young to understand hunger pangs and the resulting discomfort can make them fuss.
Another aspect to consider is their bottle. Even breastfeeding mamas sometimes need to pump and store milk for the other parent or a sitter to feed their newborn. If your baby can’t get a grip on the nipple or finds it distasteful, they may likewise refuse to eat.
Not all infants are born with naked mouths. Some arrive from the womb with a tooth or two intact, and others start cutting before they reach 4 months. It’s not unusual for them to experience significant mouth pain that makes them fussy.
There's a relatively simple cure if this is the underlying cause of your newborn’s discomfort. A 24% sucrose solution can help calm and soothe your baby’s teeth, and many doctors recommend it before procedures to help them relax. Most babies adore the sweet taste.
Most baby clothes score high in cuteness and comfort. However, some infants have unique sensitivities to various fabrics. Some versions, like polyester and nylon, can irritate delicate newborn skin. Pay attention if your little one develops a rash.
Likewise, your child might experience discomfort from their clothing’s tag or how the elastic closes around their wrist. Most children don’t develop signs of autism until 12 to 18 months, but sensitive newborns could exhibit similar behaviors — however, they can only express their displeasure through fussing.
Infants need a lot of love. Babies deprived of physical contact fail to thrive. Bonding is an essential need, so please cuddle with your newborn to ease their discomfort. It may stem from feeling lonely.
Today, experts consider it a myth that you should let your baby cry. Doing so impacts their attachment — their perception that they can trust the world and the people in it. Leaving them in their sorrow promotes a primal fear of abandonment that may manifest later in life as an anxious, avoidant or disorganized attachment style.
The truth is that you can’t hold your baby too much. Taking them with you from room to room as you do other things helps their language development while making them feel secure that their primary caregivers are always there.
Another technique that helps manage your newborn’s discomfort is to distract them. Fortunately, it’s not too hard to capture their attention.
A pretty mobile featuring prisms sends rainbows of light dancing around your newborn’s room. Simple games like peek-a-boo also take your baby’s mind off their discomfort.
It’s wise to call your pediatrician if your baby’s fussiness continues beyond a day or two. Although relatively rare, your baby could have an underlying disorder contributing to their discomfort.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends calling your doctor before giving any over-the-counter pain relievers to children under 2. They can recommend the appropriate dosage. Avoid giving children and teens aspirin because of the risk of Reye Syndrome.
Fussy babies can strike fear in the hearts of new parents. It’s challenging to know what’s causing the discomfort.
However, most infants soothe relatively quickly when you use the tips above. Follow this guide for managing discomfort in newborns, and remember your pediatrician is only a phone call away.
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