Causes of Fussiness & Ideas to Calm a Fussy Baby
There is almost no sound worse than a crying baby. Not because it’s annoying, but because you know that those first sad screeches that come from their tiny lungs can signal the beginning of a desperate spiral of trying to soothe them back into a relaxed state.
That is actually how Dreamland was born.
As a mother of four, desperate for a happier baby and some actual sleep, founder and CEO Tara Williams was determined to find a solution to calm her fussy baby - cue angels singing - and Dreamland was born. There are many reasons why babies get fussy, and we’re here to talk about it all.
Keep reading to learn why your baby might be fussy and how you can calm them.
Why is my baby so fussy all of a sudden?
Figuring out why your baby might be fussy all of a sudden can feel like a guessing game - because sometimes, it is.
Here are some common reasons your little one may be seemingly unhappy out of nowhere:
- Hunger: Newborns eat as often as every 2 hours, and sometimes more during cluster feeds. Just as hunger can cause fussiness, so can overfeeding, though. If you’re unsure how much or how often your baby should eat, it’s best to speak with your pediatrician.
- Food sensitivities: Some babies will need a special formula that avoids using certain ingredients. Similarly, breastfeeding mothers may have to make some dietary changes to accommodate sensitivities. Common culprits are caffeine and dairy.
- Gas: This is a very common problem for newborns thanks to their immature digestive system.
- Overstimulation: Because babies have highly sensitive hearing, vision, and touch, they can easily spiral into sensory overload.
- Change of routine: Babies thrive on routine. If you’ve ever tried to go out to lunch during naptime, you probably already know that this can make your baby fussy.
While there are many reasons why babies can be fussy all of a sudden, sometimes there is not a blatantly apparent reason.
What months are babies most fussy?
Sometimes, your baby can be fussy because of changes they may be going through. The first few weeks of life come with the obvious change of scenery. Months 2-3 have babies speeding through cognitive development milestones - which can be exhausting! Between 4-6 months, many babies will begin teething, that’s enough to make anyone cry. Between 9-12 months, your baby can get fussy simply because they’re frustrated with their mobility restrictions. They see this wonderful, exciting world around them that they’re trying so hard to explore - if only their legs worked.
How long does a fussy baby last?
Determining how long a fussy baby lasts can be tricky, as each cry may be for a different reason. For example, teething may come with a longer fussy period than, say, being hungry. If you are dealing with a fussy baby around bedtime, they may need self soothing help. Dreamland can help with that. Our weighted sleep products feature CoverCalm® Technology that disburses weight evenly from your baby’s shoulders to toes, like a total body hug. Kind of like when you climb under your down comforter and instantly feel more at ease.
When should I be concerned about my baby's fussiness?
Often, babies will become fussy during certain parts of the day - hello, witching hours. If your baby is inconsolable at a time that is unusual for them or is not soothed by any of your regular techniques, it’s best to schedule an appointment with their pediatrician to pinpoint exactly what may be causing your baby’s fussiness.
How do I stop my baby from being so fussy?
There is an age-old idea that says when your baby is fussy, there are two ways to fix it. Take them outside, or put them in water. While many times getting some fresh air or taking a bath are all your baby needs to calm down, here are some solutions for common fuss-inducers
#1. When tummy troubles might be the culprit
- Be sure to burp your baby after every feed, as well as halfway through when you can, so they can expel all of their gas out of their bellies.
- Proper feeding techniques can make a big difference in the amount of air your baby takes in, which leads to gas. If you’re breastfeeding, a proper latch is crucial. Enlist the help of a Lactation Consultant if you need some guidance. If your baby is bottle-fed, practice pace feeding and ensure that the correct-sized nipple is being used.
- Belly massages can help soothe your baby’s tummy troubles. Make gentle circles around their belly button, or full hand brushes from their rib cage to their diaper line.
- Keeping them upright can help your little one’s digestive processes.
- Although not every family will see success with the addition of gas drops, they can be a helpful addition to your tummy trouble arsenal - as long as you have the OK from your child’s pediatrician.
#2. When your baby is overtired or overstimulated
- Drawing the curtains (blackout curtains are the best) cuts down the external stimuli and hints to your baby's developing circadian rhythm that it is time for sleep.
- Playing some white, pink, or brown noise can help to drown out external stimuli, making it easier for your baby to relax. At first, you may need to increase the volume so it’s at least as loud as your baby’s cry, then reduce the volume once your sound machine has their attention.
- Weighted sleep sacks or swaddles can be a lifesaver when it comes to winding down an overtired baby. The gentle weight of our Dream Weighted Sleep Sack actually increases the production of both serotonin and melatonin, naturally, reducing stress and increasing relaxation through deep touch stimulation.
The goal of many of these solutions is to make your baby’s environment as womb-like as possible. Can you imagine being taken from the only home you’ve known and forced into a big, bright, loud, often overstimulating world?
Oftentimes, your baby is cranky because they are craving the dark, squishy space that echoes the beautiful music of your bodily functions. After all, this was their oh-so-cozy home for 10 months. Mimicking that space can help your baby feel relaxed and comfortable.
Additionally, many of these solutions can act as sleep cues for your little one. Eventually, drawing the curtains, turning on their sound machine, and snuggling your baby into their sleep sack, will all be learned signals that it is time to rest. It is always best to begin this process before your baby hits the “overtired” stage.
Dreamland Baby was founded to help babies and parents sleep longer and better. Because we understand what sleepless nights and fussy babies are like, we’ve designed products to help calm your baby. A good amount of restorative sleep not only helps your baby physically but mentally as well. (Us too, right?) A solid night’s sleep facilitates a happy baby (and parent). Get the sleep you all deserve with Dreamland Baby’s sleep solutions.