Similar to when you left the nest, the real world is a shock to say the least. And after advancing from a nice cozy womb, to a bright, loud, unknown world your baby feels that same shock and may have trouble adapting. One of the easiest ways to help your baby transition, is through engaging their senses.
In the womb the first sense developed is touch. In the first trimester they feel sensations from their lips and nose. Later, they can sense body temperature and even mommy’s movements. In the third trimester when grandma, grandpa, auntie, uncle and maybe even their big brother or sister touches mommy’s belly they can feel that too. Therefore, touching your fussy baby should be your go-to move. Studies show that skin-on-skin contact from mom, especially when placed on mom’s chest can remind baby of mom’s heartbeat they felt in the womb. And don’t worry dad, the tactile stimulation from your hairy chest has been shown to be comforting to baby also. Lastly, who doesn’t enjoy a nice massage after a long stressful day? I’m not saying to go deep tissue on your baby, however, gently rubbing, stroking and stretching your baby can provide them with comfort, as well as improve muscle tone.
By 18weeks in utero your baby can hear, and believe it or not by 36weeks they can listen. In utero most noises babies hear are that of mom’s organs such as her heart beat, or stomach digestion, this can be referred to as white noise. Therefore, imitating this white noise for a fussy baby could help put them at ease. This can be accomplished through simply turning on a fan, clock, or even downloading a nature tones app for them to listen to.
In utero, your baby can taste amniotic fluid by the 2nd trimester. Therefore, taste provides comfort to your baby, yes, I’m telling you to give your baby comfort food; but hold off on the rocky road and loaded nachos, breast milk should suffice. Breast milk is your babies comfort food, especially when you keep a diet similar to the one held throughout your pregnancy. These familiar flavors should soothe your little one. If you’re not breast feeding, a scented pacifier like vanilla might do the trick, as babies are naturally drawn to sugar.
By week 15 of pregnancy your baby’s nose is developed, and by the third trimester babies have been known to recognize familiar scents they were exposed to in the womb. Because of this Eau de Mommy can be very calming to your bundle of joy. And if you’re having issues of baby getting fussy with a sitter, try leaving an article of moms clothing as the baby will pick up on the scent and maybe feel more at ease. Another trick of the trade is to have a “dirty” baby, studies have shown that leaving some of that cottage cheese like substance called Vernix on your baby can remind them of the smell they endured in the womb and help them with an easier transition.
Last but not least, seeing! When your baby is first born, he/she can mostly only pick up on bright colors, therefore, although the traditional pink, blue, and green pastels are appreciated by mom and dad, a fussy baby may simply be craving some stimulation. So having a nursery filled with bright colors and bold patterns can keep them interested and distracted. Also, although dealing with a screaming baby can be hectic, it is important to take a break from the diaper changes and breast pumping and look at your baby in the eyes. Connecting is calming to them, and making eye contact might do just the trick.