Natural Solutions to Soothe a Fussy Baby
Author: Cindy Whitley
February 20, 2018
If you’re a Mom, then you know exactly how helpless you can feel when your baby seems inconsolable. Guest Author, Cindy Whitley, has a few tips on how to keep your baby healthy, happy and relaxed.
As a mother of three, I know that there isn’t much that distresses new moms more, than having an inconsolable infant. It’s our natural reaction as parents to want to calm our little ones, and take care of their every need. Sometimes those new to parenting have only a limited bag of tricks, and when they feel that they have run out of options, they become anxious, stressed or even panic, which in return, upsets their suffering infant even more.
Not only do new mothers want to be able to help soothe their agitated offspring, but many want to use natural methods to do so. Here are several suggestions that have been traditionally been used to easily console a fussy baby.
This flavorful herb from the mint family, isn’t just for your feline companions. In fact, catnip tea can ease the pain and cramping of colic in infants. Since our babies can’t speak to us to tell us what’s distressing them, we sometimes need to look for clues. If your baby uncontrollably cries for hours at a time, and at the same time often brings his or her knees up to their chest, similar to an abdominal crunch, they may be suffering from colic. Colic is a digestive disorder that causes painful cramping in the abdomen, caused by digestive stress and gas. Catnip has anti-spasmodic qualities that aid in relieving the gas and muscular and intestinal cramping. It also has a mild sedative action that calms and helps quiet the colicky infant.
This natural option is easy to administer as a tea, and safe for all ages. I recommend brewing up a cup of catnip tea: 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon of dried catnip (two teaspoons if using fresh catnip) to 8 oz. of water. Simply bring the water to boil, turn off the burner and then steep the tea in the cooling water for ten minutes. Make sure the tea is room temperature or cooler before giving it to your baby. Your baby will only need 5 to 15 drops of the tea for the desired result. I use a clean medicine dropper to orally administer this pleasant tea. As for the rest of the tea, drink up mama, it will help to calm you, too.
As a homeschool mom, I have had the opportunity to see some great ideas from other moms, and this one, that I learned of years ago, amazed me with its effectiveness! How many times have you tried to put your baby down for a nap, only to have them wake back up as soon as you step out of the room? Too many to count? Well, I encourage you to try this effortless hack.
Simply place a couple a drops of lavender essential oil on a spare cloth diaper or handkerchief, and place it in your baby’s crib, somewhat near his or her head. Place it close enough that they will receive the relaxing aromatherapy that lavender provides, but not so close that it would prove to be a breathing or suffocation hazard (like a pillow or blanket might). I’ve seen infants go asleep quickly with this method, and sleep soundly. The use of lavender essential oil is recommended for infants three months and older.
Another effective way to calm your baby is by giving him or her a lovely herbal bath. This is yet another very simple way to ease physical or emotional discomfort. First, start by brewing up 2 cups of Roman or German Chamomile tea. Using the same method of infusion as was used to prepare the catnip tea, you simply boil 2 cups of water, then steep 2 chamomile tea bags for ten minutes. Then, pour this herbal tea into your baby’s bath tub (the small portable kind, or the kitchen sink). Next, fill it up with some cooler water, so that the hot tea and the bath water will combine to create a soothingly warm, but not too hot bath. The combination of the therapeutic bath water and the calming effects of the chamomile will relax the baby. This is considered safe for infants three months and older.
Massaging your baby is a wonderful way to use your own two hands to nurture and bond with your little one. Infants who have become fussy, can often times be relaxed by receiving massage from a parent. Not only does it feel good to the baby, but it also helps to instill trust between the infant and its caregiver.
When preparing to massage your baby, find a comfortable spot for the both of you. I used to put the baby on my bed, sitting in front of him, or lay him on my lap to do this. You will need some oil. An edible oil is recommended, since babies have a tendency to mouth their hands and feet. Most cooking oils will do the trick. Begin by rubbing the oil between your hands in front of the baby. They will begin to recognize the sound and it will condition them to begin to relax in anticipation of the massage. Using light, gliding strokes, try to keep your strokes heading in the direction of the heart when working on the limbs. When massaging the belly, it’s important to move in a slow clockwise circle around the belly button. This help ensure that you don’t constipate your infant. While massaging the back or head, feel free to massage in any direction, just try to take cues from your baby to make sure that he or she is enjoying the pressure. Babies love to have their faces and ears massages. Most babies also enjoy massage to the hands and feet. Massage relaxes the baby by releasing the “feel good” hormones serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. The parent massaging their baby also receives a release of these hormones during the special bonding that comes from physical touch. Here’s to less stressful parenting!
*The products in this guest blog are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness. Always consult your child’s pediatrician with any health issues or concerns. Prior to using these or any new products, it is best to take them to your child’s physician for approval. The statements made about the effects of the dietary supplements in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Author Cindy Whitley has been a massage therapist since 1993 and a master herbalist since 2009. She lives in Florida with her three sons, husband and two huskies. Cindy is also the author of Success in the Pursuit of Happiness: A Physiological and Philosophical Solution. She is a nature enthusiast who loves to hike the Rockies.