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Helping and Coping With an Unsettled Baby

5 min read

Helping and Coping With an Unsettled Baby

I will confess

- I once thought I was some kind of genius super mum. When my first was a newborn, he was pretty much ALWAYS happy. He breastfed easily apart from the odd distractions and never appeared to have an upset tummy. 

Fast forward

to our second baby - Wow. My theory on simply 'boobing' a baby and they will be happy went out the window! They really can continue to cry no matter what you do to try and help, reflux and colic really is a deal - and - darn it, I'm wasn't a genius super mum after all!

It’s no secret that unsettled babies are very common.

Whether it's gas, wind, reflux, silent reflux, colic, anxiety, birth trauma or other - so many Mums and Dads find themselves in a struggle with a screaming baby until they either hopefully A) Find a remedy or cure or B) Their beautiful mysterious baby grows out of it.

Having been there myself, and now out the other side, I thought I would put together my top tips on how I coped with my simply gorgeous, but unsettled baby, to help prepare you in case, or give a tip or two!


- Accepting that your baby will need more attention than you ever imagined helps. I feel like once you accept it, and surrender to the fact that things aren't going to be as smooth as you thought, it's much easier to cope with and things stay a lot calmer.


- As hard as it can be sometimes, remind yourself that this is a season, it's not forever, it will pass, and soon be forgotten - to the point you might even have another baby like us! It truly sucks because you really want to enjoy every moment with your new baby you have been looking forward to, but it's hard to when they're screaming or on the verge of it all the time. Take in the good times when they happen - soak them right in, and know there will be plenty more.
I found Yoga and Meditation to be an absolute savior during the hardest times, perhaps it's something you could try too. 

Establish a Cause

- Try to narrow down on the problem your baby is experiencing - if anything it will make you feel better that you are trying, even if nothing works. If you figure out exactly where the issue is coming from, then you can work to solve it and make baby's and your life much better. Is it gas, wind, reflux, are they overtired, all four or something else? You may never figure it out, or you might just establish something you can treat and make their life, and your families' a whole lot more relaxed.

Which brings me to..

Treating the Problem

- or at least try - there are many safe options out there today including the below, and something might just work, something might have the 'placebo affect', or, sadly nothing might work, but you will feel better having tried anyway. It's tough seeing your baby upset, or worse, in pain.

Here are some of the things I did to help my unsettled baby!

Treating Gas

Warm baths; tummy massage; try to alter your diet if breastfeeding avoiding foods such as beans, broccoli, cauli, spicy foods, onion, pork, caffiene, chocolate, cabbage. Try some remedies from your pharmacy like Probiotics, Rhuger, Gripe water/Infacol/Colic Calm, Chamomile Tea (1tsp) Fennel or Dill infused water (1tsp); Osteopath/Chiropractor; Correct winding (try get two burps after a feed!)

Treating Wind

Burping regularly before/during/after feeds; get baby checked for lip and tongue tie and have it released if required; try different feeding positions if you have a forceful let down ie lay back with baby over you to slow the flow; try not to overfeed and overload their digestive system - some hunger cues can look like wind cues and continually feeding your baby can sometimes make things worse; rhuger, gripe water, infacol etc as recommended by your pharmacist/gp.

Treating Reflux

Keep baby upright after feeds - I LOVED my snugglebug wrap for this, my baby basically lived in it for day sleeps for months. If baby is ok to go in their bassinet, try elevating the head end slightly using something sturdy under the bassinet legs (not under the matress). Rhugher is a good natural remedy to try, and there is also Pharmacy only medication such as Gaviscon for Infants. A pacifier can help ease symptoms, as they can help baby to keep creating saliva and swallow, soothing the burning sensation.

If your baby has gas as well as reflux, try to do tummy massage well before or after feeds to prevent pushing up any of the feed making the reflux worse. I found Osteopathy also really helped, as well as changes in diet. 

For the breastfeeding Muma avoiding caffiene, dairy, soy, gluten, nuts acidy foods such as tomato, lemon, orange, spices can help lessen symptoms. Cows Milk Protein is a big contributor to reflux in babies. 

See your GP if unsure or still nothing is helping prescription medication such as Omeprazole can help settle reflux symptoms - Reflux is often diagnosed as a symptom of some outside factor (ie an intolerance to food Muma is eating), worsened in babies due to their esophageal sphincter being immature, weak or not quite working as it should - they say this can peak at 4 months of age then appear to subside. 

Over/Under tired

Little babies are very prone to being over or under-tired, resulting in catnaps and unsettled temperament. Keeping an eye on the time your baby has been awake for and their cues of needing sleep will be helpful in avoiding overtired meltdowns. Remember that the vast majority of babies are unable to get themselves off to sleep un-aided, so it perfect to rock, feed, bounce, walk, drive baby for a nap.

For General Calming/Temperamental Babies

I found my snugglebug front wrap was an absolute lifesaver, and if he would take it, the pacifier. I love white noise and swaddling for calming - even if not for sleeping, white noise and a swaddle combo can work incredibly well to settle a baby from crying. Hold baby, move around, go for a walk with the buggy or drive, if feeling overwhelmed there is no shame in calling on someone to help, even just to hold baby for a little so you can get some breathing space and start again xx.

I hope you have found some help here, or even just a sense of feeling that you are not alone in it all. It does pass - Un-settled, temperamental babies can turn out to be the giggliest, cheekiest fun lovers - so hang in there Mumma x

If you want to find some more support and other mums to bounce ideas, advice, laughs and questions around with - come join us in Milkbar Mum Chat on Facebook, together, we've got this!

xx Laura

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