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Slide 1Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
Soothing a Crying Infant
Slide 2Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
Why Do Infants Cry?
• An infant may cry because he or she…– is hungry– wants to suck
(pacifier/finger)– is too hot or cold– has diaper rash– is tired– has colic– is reacting to
caregiver’s stress– is bored and
– needs to burp– needs a diaper
change– is getting sick and
cranky– is teething– is over-stimulated– has gas pains– is in pain– needs to be held
OR…it is just that time of day!
Slide 3Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
Why Do Infants Cry? (cont.)
• Many reasons…it is their only way to communicate!
Feeling You say: Infant says:Hunger “When is dinner? I’m starved.” “Waaa!”Boredom “What is there to do? I’m bored.” “Waaa!”Over-stimulation “I need some alone time.” “Waaa!”Tired “I have had a long day. I need some sleep.” “Waaa!”Pain “Ouch. This shirt label is scratching my neck.” “Waaa!”
Infants cry an average of two to three hours per day.Twenty to thirty percent cry more than two to three hours per day.
Slide 4Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
Crying and Visual Cues
Cry Cry sound Visual cues
Hungry cry Short continuous bursts Hands in mouth, rooting (head turns to side)
Tired cry Whimper, gradually turning into loud, distressed cries
Looks away, rubs eyes, eyes droopy, yawning
Pain cry Short, high pitched piercing wail; breathing stops then wail starts again
Facial grimaces, bearing down
Discomfort cry Forceful bursts on and off N/A
Fussy cry Whimpers in short bursts N/A
Note: These are guidelines only.
Slide 5Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
Common Crying Behavior
• The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS) coined the acronym PURPLE™ for the:– Peak– Unpredictable– Resistant– Painful-looking– Lengthy– Evening
…crying of a typical, healthy infant.1
1 “The Period of PURPLE Crying” is a trademark of the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. (2003). The Period of PURPLE™ Crying. [Brochure]
Slide 6Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
Common Crying Behavior (cont.)
• Many healthy infants show PURPLE™ crying behavior:– Crying reaches its peak frequency and duration at
two months of age– Crying is unpredictable and may start and stop
without obvious cause – Crying can be resistant to all efforts to comfort– Infant may appear to be in pain, with knees pulled up
and painful expression– Crying can be very lengthy and may continue for a
half-hour or longer – Late afternoon and evening are often the times when
crying is the loudest and longest
Slide 7Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
What To Do
• Respond right away– Avoid infant working him/herself into a frenzy– You usually find out what is wrong– Remember: You cannot spoil an infant
• Address obvious possibilities – Hungry: Feed– Dirty diaper: Change– Air/Gas: Burp– Needs attention: Hold– Cold/Hot: Wrap up/remove excess clothing and/or blankets– Needs to suck: Give pacifier or clean finger
Slide 8Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
Responding To An Infant’s Cry• The 5 S’s of Soothing an Infant
by Dr. Harvey Karp, M.D.– Techniques especially helpful in the first
three months:• Swaddling• Side/Stomach• Shushing• Swinging• Sucking
Slide 9Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
• Especially helpful when calming to prepare for sleeping
• Like being in the womb (small, warm, cozy)
Slide 10Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
Swaddling Steps1. Fold one corner of the blanket down.
2. Place the infant’s head in the middle of the fold.
3. Pull the left side across the infant's chest.
4. Lift the infant’s left arm and tuck the blanket under the body.
5. Bring the bottom of the blanket up and tuck it into the first swathe.
6. Pull the last corner of the blanket across the infant’s chest, securing the left arm near the body.
7. Tuck the blanket under the infant’s back as far as it will go.
Slide 11Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
• Hold the infant on the side• Helps the infant feel secure
and supported• Left side aids in digestion
Slide 12Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
• “Shhh” into the infant’s ear, loud enough to hear over own crying
• Other calming noises to try:– Clothes dryer– Dishwasher– Hair dryer– Fan– Vacuum– Running water– CD with “white noise” (e.g. ocean waves)
Slide 13Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
• Movement similar to being in the womb
• Back and forth more than side to side:– Rock in rocking chair or baby swing– Ride in stroller or baby sling (or other
Slide 14Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
• Give the infant something to suck on:– Pacifier– Clean finger– Mother’s breast – Bottle
• Calms the infant• Use with other techniques
Slide 15Unit Two, Lesson Two - Soothing a Crying Infant
More Ideas• Sing or play soothing music to
distract the infant• Show the infant something to look at• Give the infant a warm bath• Rock the infant gently• Put the infant in a new position and
gently pat or rub the infant’s back• Run a vacuum cleaner nearby the infant• Take the infant for a walk in the stroller• Carry the infant around with you• Put the infant in an infant seat and play
peek-a-boo or a clapping game