How to Soothe Your Crying Baby
There is no sound like that of a crying infant. Something about it can often cause many moms to literally ache to fix whatever is wrong with their baby. Sometimes those fixes are easy and fast–but other times it can take lots of patience and trial and error to figure out what will soothe your baby.
Babies cry for many reasons—this is because they don’t know how else to communicate what they need. Trying different techniques and methods to soothe your baby will help you two begin to communicate.
Techniques to Soothe your Baby:
- Motion–Babies often are comforted by movement. This may be as gentle as swaying from side to side or may need to be more vigorous, using something like a baby swing.
- Mouth Soothers–Although many have conflicting opinions on soothers for babies, the fact is most all babies use sucking as a soothing method. This could be anything from a parent’s pinky to a pacifier.
- Sound–Many babies are comforted by loud “white noise” sounds. This is believed to come from the fact that while in the uterus, they were constantly hearing the swishing of amniotic fluid, the beating of their moms heart and other internal noises that occurred around them.
- Assessing their environment–Some babies are easily over-stimulated, while others need lots of stimulation. Pay attention to how your baby responds to different situations so you can know what your baby prefers. Some prefer dark, quiet rooms while others prefer to be outdoors or surrounded by people.
- Touch–Of course, holding your baby will often be the first course of action one should take when trying to use a method to soothe them. But some babies need more than just being held–some need to be worn in a sling, patted on the back, or gently massaged. Never underestimate the power of your touch for your baby.
15 ways to Soothe the crying Infant:
- Rocking in a glider or rocking chair
- Making a “Shooshing” noise close to the ear
- Using a clean pinky finger for them to suck on
- Nursing the baby
- Wearing in a baby sling
- Going for a car ride
- Using a baby swing
- Going outside
- Warm bath
- Singing to baby
- Taking a walk
- Place baby on their side or tummy as you hold them
- Turn on a noise machine or static radio station
- Bounce on an exercise ball
Things to remember about your crying baby:
- The more relaxed you are, the easier it is to calm your baby. They can sense fear!
- If you feel overwhelmed by your baby’s cries, ask for help and have someone else take over while you take a break. If you are alone, put your baby down in a safe place while you take a minute to take a breather, reassess the situation and then go to calm your baby.
- Don’t take your babies crying as a sign that you are doing something wrong or that they don’t like you. All babies cry–it’s their only way to communicate. It takes time for a baby and parent to learn each other.
- If the crying seems different and the baby seems inconsolable after trying many of the tricks, don’t be scared to call your health care provider for some guidance.
- All babies will cry, with the average being anywhere from 1-4 hours a day. It does get better with time!
Other Resources for soothing techniques:
- The Happiest Baby on the Block–By Harvey Karp, M.D.
- The No-Cry Sleep Solution–by Elizabeth Pantley
- The Fussy Baby Book–by William Sears, M.D.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Caring for your Baby and young Child; Birth to Age 5.. American Academy of Pediatrics, Ch. 3.