Wednesday, 9 November 2011

How to calm a screaming baby

The title of this article might be slightly misleading - this isn't my advice to give to other people to help calm their babies. Oh no, quite the opposite; I'm actually looking for tips on how I can calm my own screaming child.

As with any baby, it is incredibly hard to know why they are crying, as they can't tell us in words. When a baby screams we naturally check their nappy, see if they are hungry or too hot or too cold, and try playing with them to calm them down. If all of this fails, what else can we do?

The current problem in our family life is that Lydia - now 6 and 1/2 months old - is going through a phase where she cries (that soon escalate into screams) whenever she is left on her own, or even when we are right next to her but not directly interacting with her.

This phase has lasted over a month now, and is incredibly tiring as we have to keep picking her up to calm her down, meaning we struggle to get on with any other jobs (such as housework or entertaining guests).

I'm well aware from advice given by our families and friends that every baby goes through this phase, but I haven't yet had any advice on how to deal with this phase. Ok, I go to work during the day Monday to Friday to at least I have a "break", but my poor wife Christelle is at home all day trying to cope with a baby who cries every time she is left to play on her own down or Christelle leaves the room. This is naturally very stressful for her, and we haven't yet found a way of calming Lydia down successfully.

When I get home from work I look after Lydia, playing with her and sitting next to her on her playmat to keep her company while she interacts with her toys. This allows my Christelle some time to recover, but it doesn't really solve the problem of getting Lydia to calm down on her own when we are not with her.

I tried Googling this topic for some advice but found only mothering websites where the women were boasting about how their baby plays by themselves, which was really not what I wanted to read. Thanks for nothing, proud mummies.

Lydia has a number of noisy, flashing toys that she can interact with, but this often only calms her for around 10 minutes at a time, and sometimes not even that. Aside from carry her everywhere with us, I'm really stumped for ways of getting her to play on her own without screaming at the fact that she isn't in our arms.

So, I'm putting a call out for any advice on how we can cope with this phase in Lydia's development. Any tips, hints or suggestions would be hugely appreciated and any such advice that turns out to be successful would earn you our eternal gratitude.


Belly said...

Hope someone comes up with the answer you need. ((((Hugs))))

Paul Reed-Peck said...

It's not looking good so far G. I had one calm day with Lydia on Sunday but was with her literally all the time (i.e. carrying her, interacting with her, even just laying down on her play mat next to her) so as soon as it looked like she would cry I pre-empted it!

Hoping to find a solution soon otherwise Christmas with my family might be a stressful affair... :-/

Belly said...

Ah no, key words: your family!! People who don't get to see her very often, she will never be out of someones arms, it'll be great!

Steph said...

Indeed Lydia will be constantly occupied being passed between us lot in 16 days!! If anyone can prise her from Ma! LOL