How to soothe a crying baby
Babies cry for all sorts of reasons, and sometimes it’s easy to calm them down, but other times your baby may seem inconsolable no matter what you do. It can be discouraging, and may even drive you to tears, but don't lose hope. Your baby’s cry means he or she needs your help. Try to stay calm, because your baby can tell if you are upset. It may take a few tries, but with patience and practice you'll find out what works and what doesn't for your baby.
First, try to identify your baby's cries and rule out any obvious culprits (like a dirty diaper or an empty tummy). Also, check for any symptoms of illness such as a fever or runny nose, or signs of pain from teething gums. If you still have a fussy baby on your hands and you are wondering what is the best way to soothe a crying baby, the following techniques may help calm down baby and allow you both to feel better.
Swaddling your baby keeps your little bundle feeling cozy and secure. Experts think swaddling soothes babies because it mimics the womb. Many parents notice swaddling helps their babies settle faster and sleep longer. Some babies prefer their arms to be left out of the swaddle, either because they self-soothe or simply because they like their freedom. You can easily leave their arms out of the swaddle by placing them with the blanket's top edge at armpit level instead of at chin-level.
Depending on the age of your baby and whether or not they have started to roll over, you may want to switch to a baby sleeping bag. Woolino 4 season sleep bags allow for your baby’s arms to be free and the soft merino wool fabric keeps your baby’s temperature regulated, allowing them to stay comfortable throughout the night. Remember, babies cannot fully control their body temperature, so it’s important to make sure they are not cold or overheated.
|". . .I swear, (Woolino) saved me. I was suffering from postpartum depression and was feeling overwhelmed about what to dress my baby in at night. As a first time mom with all the other anxieties, the ridiculous TOG ratings from every other sleep sack nearly pushed me over the edge. Then I found Woolino. My baby slept solid and I went to bed for the first time in five months without a grain of doubt or worry." - Jessica Swan
Babies often soothe themselves by sucking to calm their nerves. If your baby is crying, help her find her thumb, fist, or finger, or offer one of your own fingers. Binkies or pacifiers can also do the trick, though you might want to consider waiting until breastfeeding is well established before introducing one.
Babies cry when they are hungry. Your baby may need to eat more often than you expect. However, they also cry from overeating or gas. Try to avoid overfeeding your baby because this may make him uncomfortable too. Try to wait at least 2 to 2½ hours from the beginning of one feeding to the next. If your baby has food sensitivity causing discomfort, you may need to change his diet to help. For breastfed babies, moms may try changing their own diet by cutting out caffeine or milk products or avoiding spicy or gassy foods. For bottle-fed babies, you should try asking your pediatrician if you should try a different formula.
Some babies are comforted by external monotonous noises or rhythmic whooshing sounds, which may remind them of the womb. See if turning on a vacuum cleaner, hair dryer or fan may work to block out the random noises that can startle your baby when she’s trying to settle down. You could also invest in a special white-noise machine or mobile. If you’re in a pinch and don’t have any gadgets handy, try shushing into your baby’s ear with "Shhhhhh…shhhh…shhhh…" sounds. Your shushing sound mimics what baby heard in the womb
Your baby has no idea whether you sing off-key or with perfect pitch. What she does know is that whenever she's being sung to, you’re there with her. So, the next time she's cranky, sing her a classic lullaby, or whatever tune comes to mind. She'll be comforted just by the sound of your voice.
Rhythmic pat or motion
Pat your baby’s back or bottom. A heartbeat pattern or any other rhythmic pattern may help in soothing a fussy baby. The motion or vibration of walking in a stroller or taking a drive around the block are some ways to soothe your crying baby. The ambient noise of the surroundings helps too.
Cradle or rock
Cradle your baby’s face between your cheek and shoulder. Sway or rock your baby while you hold him this way. Walking with the baby will add a rocking motion. Rocking a baby in a rocking chair or glider is a well-known and cherished ritual. Modern parenting offers some hands-free rocking options too: When your baby is fussing, consider putting her in a motorized baby swing, vibrating bouncy seat or an automatic cradle. To avoid letting your baby become dependent on the motion to fall asleep, don’t let her get in the habit of nodding off in the machine. Instead, let her get to the brink of sleep, and then transfer her to her crib.
Water can be very calming to many infants. A warm bath might be just what it takes to soothe a crying baby. If your little one tends to get mellow at bath time, fill up the tub with warm water and make it a regular part of her chill-out routine. You can even try introducing a little aromatherapy. As a bonus, adding a few drops of a lavender- or chamomile-infused soap to the water may help soothe you as well. Just remember that some babies become stimulated by the bath. If this is true for your little one, make sure to schedule your baby's bath time before playtime.
Massaging your baby can be a relaxing ritual for both of you, and it’s a great way to soothe a crying infant. You can experiment with lotion or baby oils, though neither is necessary. Use a gentle touch, but make sure it’s firm enough not to be ticklish. Stroke her chest from the center outward and make small circles on her stomach, around her belly button. Gently roll her arms and legs between your hands. Open her fists and rub her palms and fingers. Massage the soles of her feet and uncurl her toes, too. If she doesn't mind, try turning her on her tummy and stroking her back.
Slings or carriers
Calming motions remind babies of movements they felt in the womb. Wearing your baby and walking around is a great way to soothe her. Babies enjoy the feeling of closeness and the rhythm of your steps. The carrier is also convenient because your hands remain free for multitasking. Have your baby face your body in a front-pack carrier for the first three months when she needs the extra head support. You can also use a sling, which is particularly useful for on-the-go nursing. If your baby doesn’t care for it at first, don't give up entirely. Babies often come around and enjoy being carried around like this.
Even young babies can get bored — and if they do, it can cause them to get fussy. Try refocusing your baby’s attention on a toy or other interesting object. To keep your little one entertained, try narrating your actions with silly noises and expressions. You may also try sitting on the floor with her and showing her how her toys rattle and spin. Some babies love to watch and listen to you read a simple rhyming board book, while others get the giggles if you turn on some tunes and dance with them.
Sometimes, when your baby is crying inconsolably, what she needs is some pressure on her tummy — or what’s known as the "colic carry” — to help relieve gas and colic. Lay your baby on her tummy on your forearm, cradling her head in your hand. Use your other hand to stabilize her and rub her back. You can also lay her across your lap, with one knee in her tummy and the other supporting her head. Or hold her upright, with her abdomen on your shoulder. When she’s laying on her back, try pushing her knees up to her tummy for 10 seconds, then release and repeat, to help relieve gas.
Lots of people bouncing or talking to your baby may be too much for her. If overstimulation seems to be the problem, take everything down a few notches. Dim the lights, turn off the music, put your phone on vibrate and just mellow out with your baby. Remember, everything is completely new to her, and at times this can be overwhelming. If she’s colicky, it is especially important to keep things calm and quiet in the late afternoon and evening, when colic is often at its peak.
Remember, your baby can tell if you are upset too. Take a deep breath and calm yourself. Call a friend or family member for emotional support, and don’t hesitate to contact your doctor if you think there may be a medical reason why your baby is inconsolable. Try to be patient. It is normal to feel upset, frustrated, or even angry, but it is important to stay calm and keep your baby safe.