Sometimes your baby may seem overly fussy at night, or certain times of the day. This can be caused by a few different things such as cluster feeding, growth spurts, teething, overstimulation, colic, or something in your diet causing an upset stomach. In this post, I’ve put together my five favorite tips for managing evening fussiness when your baby may be upset at night only.
Research shows that babies who receive lots of holding and carrying from day one even when they aren’t crying or hungry, are less likely t develop fussiness and colic. This tells us the importance of physical contact, and of good bonding with primary caretakes, which are good for the healthy development of the digestive and immune systems.
Here are 5 tips for managing these times.
- Reduce Stimulation. If your baby is overstimulated, reduce the stimulation in the environment by turning off extra televisions, radios, games, noise from other children in your home, or whatever it is that is causing noise and light. Reduce light and sound, check for uncomfortable clothing or blankets, don’t use heavy perfume or scented detergents or soap, and hum or sing softly. If possible, put your baby in a baby carrier and go into a dark room or closet for a few minutes and sway back and forth with your baby. This calms them down and can reduce stimulation. You can also try “ssshhhing” sound at the same time to see if your baby responds positively.
- Infant Massage. Try massaging your baby’s feet, arms, and abdomen gently. Try infant massage. This is a complementary therapy that soothes and relaxes your baby, and aids in digestion. You can try it after a diaper change or before bed 5 to 10 minutes is all your baby needs. Try not to do it right after breastfeeding as it may cause spitting up. You can use coconut oil to massage, but avoid any other lotions or oils that may hurt your baby’s delicate skin.
- Keep your body fueled and hydrated. You want to be eating healthy foods and drinking a lot of water, so your body can feel energized. Aim for whole foods and healthy fats, and at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
- Breathwork. Breathe deep and concentrate on being calm within yourself. This can help your baby feel more relaxed too. You are your baby’s source of wholeness, so even if your baby is in pain, he will hopefully come to a place of peace if you are at peace. Sometimes it requires waiting out the period of distress, so deep breathing can be so instrumental.
- Have patience and grace with yourself and your baby. Remember these days will pass, so try to embrace these times, even if they seem overwhelming and daunting. Utilize your support system for any extra tasks so you can respond to your baby quickly to cues so his/her brain doesn’t experience the stress of unanswered signals.
Diet and Breastfeeding
If you suspect your diet may be causing a reaction for your baby, start keeping a food journal and writing down what you ate and if your baby experiences any symptoms 2-4 hours after you eat that particular food. If you notice the side effects are repeating, you may try eliminating that food for 4 days to see if symptoms improve. Sometimes it can take up to 3 weeks for something to be removed from your body and milk.
Managing an upset baby at night can be hard on both mama and baby. It can also be taxing on the entire family sometimes. I encourage you to find a routine that works for you during these times and don’t give up breastfeeding on the hard days. You’ll be so glad you stuck it out when things get easier. Hang in there mama and check out my other tips in this post- What is Cluster Feeding and How to Deal with It.