How to Calm a Crying Baby

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There’s nothing more heart-wrenching—and, let’s face it, sometimes nerve-wracking—than a wailing infant. Here are a few ways to soothe your sweet little crybaby.

Warning
No matter how frustrated you get, NEVER, EVER shake a crying baby–just a few seconds of jostling can cause serious brain damage. If you can’t take anymore, put baby down in a safe place, leave the room, and let her scream while you calm yourself down.

Step 1: Try to find reason
Check all the obvious reasons the baby might be crying. In babies under 3 months old, crying is almost always a sign of physical need–she may be hungry or gassy or wet or hot or just plain uncomfortable. So offer a breast or bottle, burp her, check her diaper, make sure her clothes aren’t pinching, and so on.

Step 2: Offer pacifier or thumb
Offer the baby a pacifier, help her find her thumb, or slip your own clean pinkie into her mouth, nail side down.

Step 3: Make soothing noises
Make some soothing noises. Sing, hum, or gently shush her. Some babies may also be calmed by the sound of a running faucet, a radio set on static, a recording of nature sounds or white noise–even the steady hum of the vacuum cleaner.

Step 4: Try movement
Try movement. Take her outside for a walk or a car ride, gently dance with her in your arms or a sling, rock her side-to-side, or just walk around the room.

Tip
If you just can’t make another lap around the room, try sitting on an exercise ball and gently bouncing while holding your baby.

Step 5: Try massage or bath
Try massaging her or putting her in a warm, soothing bath.

Tip
For babies who become invigorated by a massage or bath, it’s best not to use these methods to try to soothe them while crying.

Step 6: Change scenery
Change the scenery. Give her something new to look at, by turning on the ceiling fan or showing her a toy. And remember to stay calm and patient–after all, she can’t cry forever.

Did You Know?
The average newborn cries 2 hours per day–an infant who cries inconsolably at least 3 hours a day for at least 3 days a week probably has colic and will outgrow it by 3 months.