Wednesday, May 21, 2008

20 Ways to Calm your Crying Preemie (and You)

Sometimes your preemie will start crying and none of the usual tricks seem to be working. This can be very stressful for you and your preemie. Here are some ways to try and get your preemie to calm down and to help you cope with the crying:

1. Walk around the house with your preemie. If he/she is on oxygen, hook up the portable tank so you can go as far as you want without worrying up tubing.
2. Dance with your preemie. Put on some music and dance around the room/house. Make sure you make big body movements so your preemie will feel it.
3. Bounce your preemie gently in your arms. For both of my preemies I would hold them close and then go up and down as low/high as I could so they could really experience it.
4. Go for a walk in the stroller - sometimes the movement and/or change of scenery will help your preemie calm down.
5. Go for a ride in the car.
6. Put your preemie in an electronic swing
7. Turn up some music, run the vacuum or let the water run in the tub for a few minutes. When my daughter is too tired to sleep, running the water helps her calm down and fall asleep.
8. Offer your preemie a noisy toy like a rattle. Shake it so he/she can hear it. Sometimes the change in noise is just enough of a distraction to allow you to calm him/her down.
9. Sing or talk to your preemie in a quiet, sing-song voice. Sing easy songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Row Your Boat, etc. I've also found that if I'm going to be singing for awhile it's helpful to do songs like Old McDonald, The Wheels On The Bus and If Your Happy And You Know it because they can go on for a long time as you add on new animals, etc. If you're talking and run out of things, start going over your to do list or anything that will keep you talking.
10. Memorize a couple of short baby books so that you can quietly repeat them to your preemie. My go to books are Goodnight Moon, I am a bunny and Runaway Bunny. This is helpful if you are so stressed that you don't want to/just can't think of calming things to say/talk about. It lets your mind go on auto pilot for a minute or two.
11. Put your preemie in a baby carrier or sling and walk around the house. Being close to you will often help your preemie settle down. Sometimes if you bounce up and down as you walk this can help calm your preemie down as well.
12. Lay your preemie down across your lap and gently rub or tap his/her back.
13. Put your preemie against your chest and gently pat his/her bottom or back.
14. Give your preemie a massage.
15. Swaddle your preemie tightly if he/she is small enough.
16. Feed and/or burp your preemie one more time, just in case
17. If you use one, offer a pacifier or your finger. If your preemie is really upset, you may need to hold it at his/her mouth until he/she is calmed down enough to take it.
18. Hold your preemie close to you and breathe slowly and calmly, sometimes your preemie may just need to feel your calmness
19. Remove yourself from the situation and let someone else take over. If you're home alone - call someone. Your husband/wife, family member, friend, neighbor. Anyone that you trust that is available to come over long enough to give you a break.
20. If NOTHING works, than put your preemie down in his/her bed or a swing and leave the room. Check back at least every 15 minutes.

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