My little guy will be one-year old soon. GAH! Where does the time go? He has been an easy-going little guy since the day he was born. [I know, I lucked up. But don’t you worry! My oldest monsters made up for it.] He loves to smile and giggle. I’ve never seen a baby with a sense of humor like his. I always figured they don’t know how to tell what is funny, at least not like we do. Boy was I wrong! This little guy is hilarious! He has been giggling and laughing with us (or maybe at us) for months now. He loves to watch the dog chase the ball around the house and laughs so hard when he, the dog, shakes toys in his mouth. How does he know that’s funny?
As happy as he is, there are times when he is inconsolable. And when the baby cries… EVERYONE is upset.
He is going through a bout of separation anxiety right now and freaks out when he can’t see me, touch me, smell me, or sense me nearby. This boy has mommy radar like none other. While I love having a special connection with him, it makes it difficult for me to get much of anything done. It’s also difficult when we are out and about, driving somewhere (I’m the driver and he can’t see me), or he’s fighting sleep. Not to mention, he has two teeth coming in right now. Can you say cranky baby?
Without going into attachment styles and the to cry it out or not to cry it out debate, I’ll tell you this… I have 3 children. Each child is different and requires different types of love and parenting styles. I’ve learned to adapt my parenting to each child so they get what they need. For my little guy, I very rarely (and I mean it’s happened twice since he’s been born and only because I didn’t have a choice) let him cry it out. Before you get crazy on me, remember, each child is different. I know that when my normally happy baby is crying it’s because something is wrong.
Big brother and sister are amazing helpers (when they want to be). We’ve worked out some things that work for him that don’t involve a lot of external items.
- Plug It Up: First things first… Make sure your little one isn’t hungry or thirsty. We always carry a pacifier and a few teether toys for when he is fussy because he wants to chew on something. I know… I know… Pacifiers aren’t the greatest things in the world. Believe me, I was anti-pacifier and refused to let one anywhere near my baby. I was terrified a pacifier would cause nipple confusion and he wouldn’t nurse. Guess what… It didn’t and he nursed just fine for 9 months. The only reason we stopped nursing is because he got sick and couldn’t suckle. Then when he was finally better all he did was bite. No thank you. I’ll pass. So pacifier it is for the win! Why? Because my baby might be part goat. He will chew on ANYTHING. I’m serious. The pacifier helps calm him down and the teether toys are good for when he wants to chew.
- Funny Faces: Big brother and sister have cornered the market on funny faces. They are starting early with teaching him how to do things and the first thing they taught him was to stick out his tongue. Now when he fusses, they make faces at him until he can’t stop giggling and blows raspberries. Making funny faces is a good way to interact with your little one and distract them from crying. Heck, I do this with my oldest two now. My daughter is the queen of diva’s and throws me attitude all the time when I make her mad. The quickest way to get her out of her funk is to make faces at her and tell her not to laugh.
- Giddy Up: He loves the “Giddy Up” game. It’s something you can do anywhere. All you have to do is put your little one on your knee, bounce them up and down, and say “Giddy Up” (over and over and over and over and over). Regular giddy up is fun but if you want to take it to another level AND get some exercise, do this instead… Lay on your back, put one leg up, bend your knee, and put your little one on your foot or leg. Bounce him/her up and down (making sure to hold their hands). Another game my little ones love is the flying game. In this game, you lay on your back and put your little one on your feet and “fly” them back and forth. My 7-year-old begs to place play the flying game. You have to have really good control of your little one with your feet on this one. My SO teases that I have “foot hands” and that’s why I can do it.
- Sing: One of the best things about kids is that they don’t care how bad you sound, they love to hear you sing. Or at least mine do. My oldest monsters are getting old enough to realize I can’t carry a tune. The little guy, I still have a few years left with him. Singing to him is one of the quickest ways to calm him down. It truly soothes my savage little beast. I realize not all kids like singing as much as he does. My oldest certain didn’t. I used to know all the lullabies yet somehow forgot a lot of them over the years. Look over to the right sidebar (on MAC or PC) or scroll down to the bottom (on mobile) of this post to sign-up for a free printable of Lullabies for Little Ones. We’ve included some popular lullabies and a link to our YouTube channel where you can hear the tune. The videos are also perfect if you don’t want to sing them yourself.
- Cuddles: Let me tell you, baby hugs are some of the best and my little guy is the king of all cuddle monsters. Another sure-fire way to calm him is to remove him from wherever he is, hold him against me, and kiss on his face. Of course, he also tries to put his hand down my shirt. He’s been doing that sing he stopped nursing. We have to find a better way for him to cuddle and be calm in public because people tend to give us weird looks.
- Hold Tight and Sway: I have perma-baby rock syndrome. You know… It’s the rock you do when you sway back and forth while holding your little one. The symptoms set in after my first-born arrived and have been present ever since. I find myself doing the baby rock when I’m standing around. Even when I’m not holding a baby. Most people don’t notice when I’m swaying. Or maybe they think I have to pee and are being polite by not saying anything. Either way, holding your little one tight and swaying back and forth can be incredibly relaxing for the little one… and you.
- Skin-to-Skin: I had no idea of the benefits of skin-to-skin when my oldest two were born. Thank goodness the nurses made sure to tell me about it! Skin-to-skin contact has calmed my little guy down on numerous occasions. It is especially helpful when he’s sick. I take off his clothes and cradle him (still in a diaper) against my chest. I usually wear a bra or tank top when we do this. The little bit of contact helps anchor him. This technique is for when you are home. You probably don’t want to do this out in public.
- Soft Touch: Soft touch is relaxing for little ones and adults. Our bedtime routine when I was little included my dad softly rubbing my forehead and the area right above my eyebrows. It relaxed me and put me to sleep quick. I use soft touch with my little guy by rubbing the back of his head, cheek, and calf. I’ve tried to rub his back but he is incredibly ticklish and laughs instead of relaxing.
The tips included here are useful no matter where you are and don’t require external items. This is especially important when you are traveling and walked out of the house without toys or other items to help distract your little one. Let’s be real, we all do this from time to time… or all the time. What do you do to calm your little one?
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