How do you keep your cool with a fussy baby? Dr Wong Boh Boi shares some reassuring advice for mums feeling the pressure.
Is your baby constantly crying, agitated and difficult to settle? A fussy baby above six months old can make life very challenging for mum and family. There are many factors that can affect a baby’s level of comfort, and knowing what to do when you recognise the signs not only brings great relief -it can feel very empowering too.
“A fussy baby can be very demanding and may affect the bonding process between mum and baby, especially if she doesn’t have the support mechanisms in place to help her. On some occasions, it can make mum can feel a little detached and hopeless. Babies are very intuitive and can pick up on their mother’s emotions and anxiety. Keeping calm, while easier said than done, is very important for both of you” says Dr Wong Boh Boi, Assistant Director at Thomson ParentCraft Centre, Singapore.
Here are some Reassuring Tips to help you keep calm and collected during those testing times with your above-six-month old baby.
1. Understand your baby’s cues
If you have a fussy, grumbly baby over six months of age, it could be for a number of reasons, especially during feeding time. Take time to understand your baby’s facial expressions and body language, and really study your baby − it can make all the difference! You will eventually be able to tell whether they are crying in pain, hunger, tiredness or whether they are ready for a diaper change.
“If your baby appears uncomfortable and unhappy during or after feeding and spitting up excessively, they might be experiencing signs of a delicate tummy,” says Professor Geoff Cleghorn, Director, Mead Johnson Paediatric Nutrition Institute (Asia). “While your baby will not always have a delicate tummy, their digestive system will need time to develop and become fully functional. Babies develop at different rates. Thus is it crucial to help your child meet the nutritional needs at different stages of development.”
2. Create an oasis of calm
A relaxing feeding environment at home can have a big impact on your fussy baby too. If the room is quiet, well-ventilated and cool, you’ve covered the basics for comfort. Make sure you have a comfortable chair or sofa and that your room is clutter-free too. If everything you need is within reach, such as feeding equipment, muslin for baby and a hot drink for you, it helps you to relax into feeding time too.
Above six months of age, if your baby is being fed in a new environment with many distractions, this can make him a little agitated. So make use of the nursing rooms in shopping malls when you’re out and about, Mama.
3. Routine wins hands down
“When babies older than six months have a routine, they learn to perceive what’s coming next, and this makes them much easier to settle and steadily reach their developmental milestones. Babies without routine can become very excitable, the mum can become very tired and it becomes a vicious cycle,” comments Dr Wong Boh Boi.
A routine is extremely important for children as they learn to expect things throughout their day, such as getting fed when they are hungry and learning to nap at appropriate times, which helps build healthy sleep patterns. Give yourself and your baby time to settle into a routine.
4. Time to sleep
Fatigue is the third most common complaint of mums with babies past six months of age. Having a baby is exhausting not just because of the sleep deprivation but also the learning curve that mums have to go on, especially if it is your first baby.
5. Try and get some sleep!
“If mum is tired and stressed and not breathing calmly, the baby will follow her. She needs to tell herself everything is ok, and talk calmly to her baby. Classical music played softly can have a calming effect on babies too,” explains Dr Wong Boh Boi.
6. Seek family support
Dr Wong Boh Boi believes dads and wider family members can play a pivotal role in helping mum deal with a fussy baby.
In fact, babies and young children gain particular benefit when grandparents share their daily care too. A grandparent is likely to regard this task as more than a job and provide the committed care and stability that babies and young children need for their healthy emotional development1.
Husbands, partners and family members who are present both physically and mentally to motivate, encourage and provide lots of hands-on support can help enormously, giving you the best chance to bond with your baby.
Find out more about Enfamil A+ Gentlease Stage 2 and how will it support your fussy baby’s nutritional needs below.
With over 100 years of experience in paediatric nutrition, Mead Johnson Nutrition has scientifically formulated Enfamil A+ Gentlease Stage 2 with 360° DHA PLUS for children after 6 months of age, formulated with easy-to-digest partially hydrolysed protein and low lactose, so it’s gentler on your baby’s delicate tummy. This formula provides balanced nutrition for supporting growth and development. Scientifically formulated with 17mg DHA and 34mg ARA per 100kcal, it helps meet recommendations* for infants aged 6-12 months.
Also available: Enfagrow A+ Gentlease Stage 3 for children 1 year onwards.
To learn more about supporting your child’s delicate tummy’s development, please click here.
* FAO/WHO recommends daily dietary DHA intake of 10-12mg/kg body weight for infants 6-12 months. Reference: FAO 2010. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition. Report of an expert consultation. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper No.91. FAO: Rome.
Dr Wong Boh Boi
Phd, Med ECE, BHSC, SRN, SCM, JBCNS(NICU), IAIM, MISP, IBCLC, ITC, APEX, OBE
Deputy Director (Clinical)
Senior ParentCraft Educator
Senior Lactation Consultant
Thomson Medical Centre
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