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When your baby is upset, parents want to do whatever it takes to soothe them quickly. A lot of times this looks like placing baby right back into mom’s tired arms. But wait! There are lots of ways for partners to soothe and bond with their new babies. When the work of raising a baby is shared between caregivers, everyone wins. Read on for some tried and true soothing tips for partners.
When that shrill cry from your new baby pulls at your heartstrings, the first step is to slow down and tune in. We often race to find the nearest pacifier or bottle, but taking a moment to simply hold and breathe deeply with your baby in your arms is essential. This simple act shows your child that all of their feelings – even the negative ones – are valid. When your baby feels your breaths deepen and heart rate slow, they’re learning what it feels like to calm oneself down. Skin-to-skin is the icing on the cake for helping your baby to regulate their emotions. Don’t skip this important bonding step before brainstorming other ideas to try.
Research has demonstrated that babies are more relaxed with their caregivers are standing up. We believe this goes back to the most primal part of our brains that feels safer when we’re ready to run or defend ourselves. Walk around, bounce, or sing with them in your arms. Hold them facing out so they can take in their surroundings. Or try wearing them in a sling or carrier. Put on some music and dance! Don’t worry, your baby won’t care if your dance moves are cheesy or your singing is off key. Just show them how much fun you’re having with them in your arms.
Sometimes we all get into a funky headspace and need a little distraction from our own minds. Babies are no exception! If your little one is fed, dry, and not ready for sleep, distraction can be a wonderful tool to help them settle down. Make silly noises, count their toes, pet the dog, shake a rattle… the options are endless. Keep it light and move onto something else if your baby isn’t having it.
If the weather is nice, head outside with your little one. Fresh air, birdsongs, and sunshine can go a long way to get our minds on a better track. Just don’t forget to protect your baby’s delicate skin from those UV rays!
“Play is the work of childhood,” said Mr. Fred Rogers. Children need play for healthy brain development. While babies aren’t yet ready for elaborate imaginative play, they build up to it through playful interaction with their caregivers starting from birth. Stretch out on the floor with some toys or break out the old classic game of peek-a-boo. There’s no one right way to play with your play – just be with them, keep it simple, and see what makes them light up.
Out of ideas for activities to try with your baby at home? Try out these great suggestions from lovevery.
Trust Your Gut
Trying to calm a stubborn baby can bring up feelings of self-doubt and uncertainty. Remember that you can’t settle a baby if you aren’t yet settled yourself.
During babyhood, many partners feel underprepared to help soothe their babies. This is a normal feeling, but it won’t last forever. Remember that your baby lived inside their mother’s body for months. You and your baby are just now getting to know each other one-on-one, and your relationship will – and should! – look differently than their relationship with their mother.
Trust your instincts and take plenty of time to get to know your little one. In time you’ll pick up on all of each other’s fun quirks, and bonding will become second nature. You’ve got this!