Let's start off by saying I am no expert but after having two kids and photographing lots of lots of newborns I have found a few ways to help calm a fussy baby! So if you are in those first few hazy weeks then this is for you.
Babies want to know you are caring for them. Movement helps them know you are there and can also calm their stomachs. Newborns have to transition to the outside world. Even if you are breastfeeding it takes time for them to get used to it. Their digestive system is working over time since they are eating and growing so much! Here is a movement I think helps especially in those first few days- Put one hand under their head and the other under their butt then you can move them up and down in front of you. (Kind of like the picture below) Something to remember is always have their butt lower than their head, about a 30 degree angle. That way gravity is helping with their tummy bubbles.
Okay I know everyone already knows this one. But I swear as first time parents we thought our baby was the one who didn't like swaddles... oh how wrong I was. I probably would of saved myself a lot of tears and sleepless nights if I would of tried it and added the movement along with it. I do know some babies that prefer their hands by their face so you can always try that with a swaddle but I wouldn't write off a good swaddle either. What doesn't work right now might actually be your saving grace one night.
Breastfeeding is so much more than just nourishment. Your little one can also want to nurse because they need that sucking motion for comfort, same with bottle feeding! A binki or pacifier is also an easy way for them to get that sucking if they are full but still need relief. The sucking also helps with their digestion and tummy bubbles. And I have even heard it helps with SIDS. It might take a minute to find the right pacifier for your baby. But this is always a good thing to make sure you have on hand to try in case it really help.
Sound machines are something I loved with my babies. This helps to drown out any other noise happening and creates a calming environment. You can even try the waves or rain sound. Babies are smart and want to be in a safe environment. If there is a lot of noise and action going on this can seem threatening to a little one who just entered the world! The repetitive shushing sound can also be more familiar to how it was in your belly.
5. Side Laying and Butt Pats
Giving baby another position to help with their tummy! I'm gonna say it again but I really think a lot of the fussy baby happens when they are trying to work through their digestion. At least in those first few weeks. Laying them on their side and wrapping one arm around them while the other is gently but still firmly patting their butt has been a go to for me. I think the reassurance that you are still there with the movement is helpful for baby to know you got them.
I could go on and on about things to do to help a fussy baby! But most importantly remember you are their mommy and go with your gut.