OK, I get it. You desperately need your baby to stop crying and fussing. Maybe they're teething, maybe they're colicky or maybe they're just so tired and cranky that they can't calm down and fall asleep no matter what you do.
Here's some advice from an experienced infant provider.
The loving caregiver actually helps the baby more by doing what they can to calm themselves. Your baby definitely picks up on your vibes and it's common for babies and caregivers to feed on each other's stress levels. Not what we want
So what do I do after 28 years of experience with infants when I can't calm them down? I use my one available hand to pick out my favorite music and get it started.
Silly waste of time? Maybe but just wait, it gets even sillier!
I dance...or move to the music in any way I feel comfortable. You can do this too and believe me, it helps.
See if you can enjoy the music in your own way. I'm not talking about kid's music either, I'm talking about playing what you want to hear.
This can be really amazing for several developmental reasons besides calming the caregiver down.
Children respond to rhythm. Their bodies will actually crave it and seek it out as they develop! Most toddlers dance without ever really being shown how. This is one way they develop their proprioceptive skills.
Some babies respond better to auditory cues, while some are more tuned in to visual or physical cues. Music can provide all three. For the visual cues, make sure to move around from place to place, letting them see different views of the world like lighter or darker rooms as you move or sway to the music. You could even try going outside and taking your music with you.
You'll get more and more used to watching your baby and noticing everything about the way they respond to what's going on. Some like to be held much closer, some need dark and some need you to sing quietly in their little ears. As long as you're open to figuring them out, they'll provide you with many, many clues.
Keep up the good work!
If you're having sleep issues, read this.
Nanci J Bradley is a child and family educator, author, energy facilitator, family aerobics instructor and all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, lifelong learning, healthy eating, fun and more than anything else, PLAY! She studied early childhood education at Triton College and received her BS in education from Northern Illinois University in 1986. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison, WI.