For some babies, diapering is stressful. The good news is unless your baby is experiencing pain, research shows calming your baby can be as simple as reassuring them with your close, comforting presence and gentle touch. Nurses know that skin-to-skin contact slows and calms a baby’s rapid breathing. Draw baby close to you and swaddle them. Swaddling gives baby the closeness and comfort they experienced in the womb. Carrying your baby close while walking around also increases calm and reduces crying.
As you soothe your little one, look to see what baby may be doing to calm themselves. Are they sucking on their fingers or a toy? Babies are born with a strong sucking reflex, and experts know natural desire to suck helps them relax, manage their emotions, focus, feel comfortable and secure, even fight boredom. Use this information to your advantage; offer your clean finger or a toy to your little one when baby is fussy.
Babies may need time to calm themselves on their own schedule and regroup. This is true especially for babies born preterm, as research shows that every day care practices, including diapering and bathing, can cause them stress. Help your baby regain a sense of calm: dim the lights, add or remove a layer of baby’s clothing to keep them comfortable, and shush your baby back to calm. Rock and cradle your baby near your heartbeat until baby is calm.