How to soothe a baby

| Sunday, June 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Sleepless nights are a part of a parent's job description, but wouldn't it be nice to know a few tips that could settle your baby down a little faster, if not completely?

That's where “The Baby Book” (DK Publishing, $40) can help. Here are the book's top six methods for calming your baby:

Declutter her mind: When your baby becomes overly tired, she can find it difficult to fall asleep. Hold her facing a blank wall to block distractions, or hold a burp cloth in front of her carriage or car seat.

Offer soothing words: Talk quietly to her, using a low, calm voice. “Shh…shh … shh” echoes the sounds she would have heard in the uterus. If she is lying down, stroke her in time with your soothing words.

Sucking for comfort: A newborn's need to suck is strong, and your breast, finger or a pacifier can offer comfort. This deep comfort-sucking steadies your baby's heart rate and relaxes her stomach muscles.

Get moving: Gentle rocking can work wonders, as its steady motion reminds her of being in the uterus. Try walking around as you rock her, sit together in a rocking chair or rock her in a gentle bouncy chair. The motion of being in the carriage, front carrier or car can calm a baby and send her to sleep.

Hold her close: Your baby is soothed by you, so start by picking her up and holding her close to you. She will feel your heartbeat, warmth and strong, comforting presence. Gently rub her back or tummy in a soft, rhythmic motion. Putting your baby down in her bassinet or crib could be the answer, too, especially if she is tired or overstimulated from lots of holding and attention.

Rhythmic relaxation: In the uterus, your baby could hear the beat of your heart and the gurgle of your stomach, and being held close to you reminds her of that.

— Emma Deihle, Trib Total Media

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