Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
In this post, we’ll explore various tips on how to soothe your crying baby, a challenge many new parents face daily. You’re an attentive parent, but sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your baby can’t be consoled. These moments can be frustrating and exhausting, and may leave you wondering what you’re doing wrong. But don’t lose hope. Let’s explore some gentle, effective ways to calm your little one.
Table of contents
- How to Soothe Your Crying Baby: Decoding Why Baby is Crying
- Tips for How to Soothe Your Crying Baby:
- More Ideas for How to Soothe Your Crying Baby
- My Baby is Still Inconsolable. What Should I Do?
- How to Soothe Your Crying Baby: Conclusion
Crying is Communicating
First and foremost, remember that crying is your baby’s primary mode of communication. They might be telling you that they’re hungry, tired, or just crave your touch. Sometimes, they cry because they’re overstimulated or uncomfortable. Decoding the reason is half the battle won.
How to Soothe Your Crying Baby: Decoding Why Baby is Crying
Does he need a diaper change?
Even if you just changed a diaper and don’t suspect (or smell) anything, check your baby’s diaper. Sometimes even a little pee can be uncomfortable, especially if your baby has a diaper rash.
Is she hungry?
Has it been longer than 2 hours since her last feeding? Often, a crying baby is a hungry baby. Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, offering a meal can be the perfect solution. If you’re breastfeeding, it’s also a comforting act that provides both nutrition and comfort.
Always follow your baby’s hunger cues. Overfeeding can cause him to become uncomfortable or gassy….leading to more crying.
Is he tired?
Has it been longer than 2 hours since their last nap?
It is okay to let your baby fuss until they fall asleep. Some babies need to cry to release some energy before they can sleep. Try to limit naps during the day to 3 hours in length so that your baby will still be able to sleep at night.
Is she hot or cold?
Your baby should wear about the same amount of clothing you need to be comfortable, or just one layer more. If you’re worried your baby may be too hot, check under their clothing for sweating, redness, etc. You can also check to make sure there isn’t something on their clothes rubbing or irritating the skin (pay attention to zippers, necklines, wrists, and waistlines).
Is he in pain or feeling sick?
If your baby doesn’t seem to return to his normal self in between crying, it may be a sign that he isn’t feeling well. Check for bloating, rashes, sores, a runny or stuffed up nose, swollen glands, etc. and call your doctor if you suspect that there is something wrong.
Check your baby’s temperature. Fevers are serious for babies younger than 12 weeks old. Call your doctor right away if your baby has a temperature of 100.4 degrees F or 99 degrees F under the arm.
Tips for How to Soothe Your Crying Baby:
Now, let’s delve into specific tips for how to soothe your crying baby effectively:
Babies can sense stress and tension, so the calmer you are, the easier it will be to console your child. If you are too tired or frustrated to remain calm, get help from someone else or put your baby down somewhere safe until you can calmly try again.
Try to nurture a calming environment, too. Dim the lights, reduce noise, and create a serene atmosphere. Overstimulation can be overwhelming for newborns, so simplifying their environment can help.
The Power of Touch
Skin-to-skin contact is incredibly soothing for infants. Hold your baby against your skin, gently patting or rubbing their back. This closeness can regulate their heartbeat, breathing, and even temperature, creating a calming effect.
Gentle, rhythmic motion can work wonders. Rock your baby in your arms, use a baby swing, or take a stroll with the stroller. The key is gentle, consistent movement.
Babies are all born with a sucking reflex, and many are soothed by sucking on whatever they can put in their mouths. Offering your baby a pacifier may just be the trick to sooth a fussy mood.
An added benefit is that babies who sleep with a pacifier have a reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If you are breastfeeding, you may want to wait to introduce a pacifier until you and your baby have established a routine–somewhere between 3-4 weeks.
The Magic of Swaddling
Swaddling can be a game changer and a classic approach for how to soothe your crying baby. It mimics the snugness of the womb, providing a sense of security. And swaddling your baby before bed also keeps them from waking up to their startle reflex, resulting in longer and better sleep.
Remember that when swaddling your baby, make sure not to swaddle too tightly, watch for overheating, and stop swaddling when your baby shows any signs of being able to roll over (2 months at the latest). After two months, you can use a sleep sack that allows your baby’s arms to be free.
Learn More: Benefits, Risks, and When To Stop Swaddling
Soothing White Noise
Think about the sounds in the womb – a constant whooshing from the mother’s bloodstream. Replicating these sounds can be soothing. Try a white noise machine, a soft humming, or even the sound of a running shower. Make sure that the sound you choose is low-pitched and constant, and that it isn’t too loud.
More Ideas for How to Soothe Your Crying Baby
- Holding or baby-wearing while walking
- Rubbing or patting their back or tummy
- Singing or talking to them
- Playing soft music, soothing sounds, or rhythmic noise
- Going on a walk in a stroller
- Bringing them outside
- Taking a drive
- Giving them a bath
My Baby is Still Inconsolable. What Should I Do?
Take a Break
Sometimes a baby won’t stop crying, no matter what you try. It can be extremely frustrating and overwhelming, especially when you are already exhausted. The best thing to do when you feel this way is to take a break. Ask someone else to take over for you. If you are by yourself, lay your baby down in a safe place, like a crib, and go into another room. Calm down by breathing deeply, listening to music, or calling someone for help or support. Check on your baby after 15 minutes or so, but don’t pick him up until you feel calm.
Call Your Pediatrician
If your baby’s crying seems excessive, or you’re concerned about their health, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare provider. Trust your instincts – you know your baby best.
How to Soothe Your Crying Baby: Conclusion
Learning how to soothe your crying baby is a journey that requires patience, understanding, and a bit of trial and error. Each baby is unique, so don’t hesitate to try different techniques and find what best suits your little one. And most importantly, never be afraid to seek help or advice, be it from family, friends, or your pediatrician. Parenting is a shared experience, and you’re not alone in this beautiful, challenging journey. By employing these strategies and trusting your instincts, you’ll find effective ways to comfort and soothe your baby, creating a loving and peaceful environment for both of you.
(1) Moon, R., Tanabe, K., Yang, D., Young, A., and Hauck, F. (2012). Pacifier use and Sids: evidence for a consistently reduced risk. Journal of Maternal Child Health. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21505778/