May 20, 2014
Fi Star-Stone is a leading parenting expert, broadcaster and author of ‘The Baby Bedtime book – Say goodnight to sleepless nights’
Over the past 22 years working with little ones and their families I have tried a variety of techniques when it comes to soothing little ones when they are upset or in discomfort.
The important thing about helping babies to relax and be calm is that it can help in a variety of situations but in particular – the awful stages of teething.
When it comes to teething babies need comfort and reassurance, so I advise all parents that come to me for advice, to forget any sleep training until they are sure their baby isn’t in any discomfort with their gums or teeth. There are lots of lovely calming techniques listed below; that you can use to soothe the tears away and make your baby feel more settled.
There’s nothing lovelier than a snuggle with Mummy or Daddy. You are your baby’s comforter when they need it most. The best kinds of cuddles are skin-to skin cuddles, especially with younger babies. So undress the top part of your baby and yourself – then wrap up in a cosy blanket and snuggle. Ride out the teething storm with snuggles!
Although I’d not advise rocking your baby to sleep – I do think rocking is great for when little ones are teething. The rocking motion is soothing and comforting and can make your baby feel relaxed at a time when teething makes them feel terrible. Let’s face it – pain isn’t nice as a grown-up, so imagine how little ones feel. They need help to settle when they are feeling horrid.
White noise magic
I’m a big fan of using white noise to settle babies. There are lots of products you can buy but one of my favourites is Ewan the dream sheep which helped my two little ones enormously when they had silent reflux or terrible teething nights and found it hard to settle. You can also make a ‘shhh-ing’ sound yourself. Do this or use the white noise while holding your baby or while they are in their bed, stroking them for reassurance.
Check your baby
Are they too hot or too cold? Could it be wind? If your baby is uncomfortable it could be why they are upset. Dress your baby according to the weather and temperature in your home. Avoid too many layers at night if you have a nice warm house as babies can overheat very quickly. If they have colic – pop them upright on your shoulder and gently rub or pat their back. Sometimes when we think babies can burp no more after a feed, another huge one pops out when placed upright! You know your baby best so if you have any concerns about your baby’s heath contact your doctor, pharmacist or health visitor.
One of my favourite calming techniques is the use of baby massage and is great for your baby because:
- It’s a good bonding experience – a good way for you and your baby to get to know each other and to spend a bit of quality time together.
- Studies have suggested that physical contact is good for babies, improving their breathing, circulation, digestion and growth.
- It provides a good source of sensory and muscle stimulation, which is beneficial to all babies, but may be particularly beneficial for babies with special needs.
My popular ‘how to’ video is easy to follow and can help little ones settle ready for a happy Baby Bedtime.
Finally, when it comes to teething, sometimes the pain gets too much for little ones and I have always used teething powders. I find them easy to use and effective as they numb the gum or tooth area to relieve the pain. What’s more – they’re easy to store in your baby bag so easily accessible for teething moments when you’re out and about.
Teething isn’t fun, but when you have bad nights and long days – remind yourself that it’s not forever and the good times far outweigh the bad. Parenting is a wonderful roller-coaster of tiredness, happiness and loveliness!
Enjoy every minute!
Fi Star-Stone is a blogger, broadcaster and author of ‘The Baby Bedtime Book’, she’s also the editor of Childcare is Fun (www.childcareisfun.co.uk) – a parenting site that hosts the UK’s only award winning, FREE, parent advice service. Each week she receives and answers over 200 emails!
Fi is also a mum of two young children born less than a year apart. As an award winning Nanny and qualified Nursery Nurse with over 21 years experience in childcare, Fi’s career has covered many areas of the childcare sector. Her qualifications include two Diplomas (one in Nursery Nursing and one in Childhood Studies) and a Degree in Childhood and Youth studies.
AL/1681/03.14/0.001. Date of preparation: March 2014