Daycare centers can be stressful places, especially for new parents. It’s hard enough to leave your baby in the care of strangers when they are sleeping, but what happens when that sweet little one wakes up and starts crying? This post will share simple steps you can take to soothe their crying before it becomes too much for everyone. These strategies are perfect for daycare providers with infants who wake up early or late at night.
The moment your child wakes up, springs to life, and starts crying, you will be on the edge of hysteria yourself. After all, nobody wants to hear that ear-piercing sound even if they don’t have a baby! You can stop this from escalating into a full-blown tantrum by following these steps:
Get Them to Calm Down
The easiest way to do this is by taking your child into your room or even home, if possible. Let them know they are safe and not alone, and you will be right there with them. If they calm down after a few minutes, you can bring them out to join the rest of the daycare babies who have woken up naturally or have been fed and changed by their caregiver. If they continue to cry, don’t worry, it’s okay.
Swaddling Helps Comfort Babies
The process of swaddling is simple: you need a blanket and your baby. Fold the blanket in half diagonally, so there are two open ends and lay your child on it, so their head is near one of the open ends. Take the two corners to your right and left and bring them over your baby, tucking them under as much as you can. Lastly, take the remaining length of fabric and pull tightly around the rest of their body until they feel snug like a cocoon. You can also wrap them in your arms or hold up their legs to aid in the swaddling process.
Keep It Natural
You may be used to giving your baby a pacifier, but keep in mind that this is not always an option at daycare centers. For some babies, taking away something they are attached to causes more stress. An easier way to transition is by using a pacifier attached to their clothes or stroller. You can also put your baby in the swing if they are fussy, just make sure it’s one of those that provides gentle motion instead of high-speed swinging. If you have some lavender essential oil on hand, you can put a few drops into your baby’s bath, and this has been known to soothe even the fussiest babies.
Pick Them Up
If you know they are hungry, pick them up and feed them right away. If they still don’t stop crying, it is okay to hold them for as long as they need, even if it means you both become a little late for the rest of your day. If your baby is in a high chair and is not hungry, try to change their diaper or wipe up a spit-up mess that can sometimes set them off into another tantrum.
Make Shushing Sounds
The best way to soothe a baby is by making the same noise they made while still in your womb. This is known as shushing, and research has shown it can be calming for babies. This can work just as well if you have access to a white-noise machine on a low setting that plays ocean or rain sounds. You can also make the same sounds with your mouth if you put a little air between your lips and then gently push it out.
Find Out Why They Are Crying
If it’s been over an hour of continuous crying, it’s time to find out why. Perhaps they are wet or hungry and could use a diaper change, or perhaps you didn’t tighten their swaddle enough, so there is light coming in through the sides of the blanket. Remember that every baby is different, so what works for one may not work for another. If you can’t determine the reason for their crying, take them up to the director so they can do some investigating. If you are still at a loss as to what is causing your baby’s fussiness, ask if they would mind you staying with them until they settle down. It never hurts to ask.
You may notice that your child falls into a routine of waking up just fifteen minutes before you get there at the end of your shift, or they wake up every 10 hours during the night etc. Please take note of this and adjust their schedule, so it fits yours better. If they know you will come to get them at 10 pm, they can wait until then to wake up.
If you follow these steps, you should find that your baby is much happier, and therefore so are you. With a little bit of time and effort, you should see an improvement in their mood and your stress level. If it has been a few weeks and things are not getting any better, you may consider finding a new daycare center.