There are few things more stressful than a very fussy baby that won’t stop crying. The most common reason babies get fussy is because they’re overtired. But when babies are overtired, it can be even harder for them to fall asleep. It's a cruel, vicious cycle, but below are some tips.
Change soaked or poopy diapers.
Check if baby is hot or cold by placing your hand on baby's neck or belly. If baby feels cold, add a layer of clothes. If they feel warm or sweaty, take off a layer. If they feel very warm and look flushed, take their temperature to make sure they don't have a fever.
Offering a feeding; your baby may be hungry even if they ate recently.
The length of time young babies stay awake at a time (known as a "wake window") can be shockingly short.
If your fussy baby has been awake longer than or at the high end of their window, they are likely overtired.
Help baby calm down and fall asleep however you can by replicating the womb to the extent possible. Then in the future you can work to prevent overtiredness and teach baby to fall asleep independently.
Remember, the womb was pitch black with muffled noises - replicate that!
Go to a quiet, dark room with no screens.
Continual whooshing sounds can mimic sounds of blood flowing near the womb.
Turn on a sound machine, make your own "shushing" noise, or hum softly.
Mom's every movement rocked the baby while in the womb, often to sleep.
Rock, sway, walk back & forth in a dark room; babywear for a walk outside, or even go for a car ride.
Sucking has a calming effect on babies, lowering heart rate and stress levels (especially when it comes in combination with warm milk).
Give baby a warm bath
Go outside; there's something calming about being outside for all humans, big and small
Bounce on an exercise ball
Snugly swaddle baby
Dancing, singing, playing with a fun toy or high contrast book, looking in the mirror, or just being goofy
Give your pediatrician a call to make sure nothing else is going on