How to Soothe a Crying Baby
Crying is your baby’s way of communicating, but even though it’s natural, it’s completely normal to want to try to comfort your baby. Understandably, this can leave parents wondering how to stop a baby from crying. It can seem like a challenge at times, but understanding the causes can help you learn how to calm your crying baby. Remember: you’re doing great. We’re just here with a couple of handy tips to help make your journey that little bit smoother.
If you have any questions or concerns about your baby’s crying, never hesitate to contact a doctor. Crying can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical issue, so it’s best to address any additional symptoms as soon as you notice them.
Why your baby cries
Baby crying is not only normal, but expected, especially during the first three months of life. Generally, babies will cry for a total of one hour each day during the first few weeks. Around six weeks of age, your baby may cry for up to two hours a day and will return to one hour of crying at around eight weeks of age. Remember though, that all babies are different, and so are their crying habits! 1
Crying is your baby’s method of communication and a way for him or her to tell you that something is wrong. When it comes to learning how to stop a baby from crying, the key is to know what is making your baby fussy. Your baby may cry if he or she: 2
- Feels hungry
- Feels gassy
- Needs a diaper change
- Feels sleepy
- Wants to be held or cuddled
- Has acid reflux
- Has cold feet
- Has colic
If your baby is crying for more than three hours a day and more than three days a week, he or she may have colic. This is no reason to panic and there are a few things you can do to help soothe a colicky baby. Learn more about colic, the symptoms, and how you can calm a baby with colic here!
If you think the root of the crying may be that your baby has acid reflux, you can learn more about the different types of refluxes and how to deal with it here.
Be sure to contact your baby’s doctor if your child appears sick or shows the following symptoms in addition to excessive crying: 1
- Trouble breathing or coughing
- Worsened crying when held or moved
- Extreme irritability or exhaustion
How to soothe a crying baby
Once you’ve narrowed down the potential causes of the crying, you will be better informed on how to soothe a crying baby. The most important thing to remember is not to get frustrated and to stay as calm as possible.
Here is some advice and tips on how to calm a baby: 2
- Swaddle your baby
One of the most helpful techniques to use for soothing a crying baby is swaddling. Make sure that you don’t cover your baby’s head or overheat your baby. And do not swaddle once your little one begins rolling over, usually around four months of age.
- Hold and comfort
When your baby is crying, it’s natural to want to pick him or her up. And when your newborn is crying without reason, it’s usually because he or she wants to be held or cuddled. If you’re trying to figure out how to calm a fussy baby at night, try holding your baby either standing up or in a rocking chair until he or she falls back asleep. Any gentle movements or vibrations can be very soothing to a fussy baby.
- White noise
A little white noise can go a long way when figuring out how to calm a crying baby. Try using a good white noise playlist, or white noise machine, to calm your newborn. But remember to avoid any loud sounds, and to turn the white noise off once your baby is awake and calm so that he or she can become accustomed to normal everyday sounds.
- Encourage nighttime sleeping
It’s best to encourage nighttime sleeping instead of daytime. If your newborn has been asleep during the day for more than two hours, try to gently wake him or her up. This will help when trying to get your baby to sleep in the evening. If you’re wondering how to calm a fussy baby at night, the swaddling technique paired with a little white noise could do the trick.
Look for hunger cues and make sure that you are not feeding your baby every time he or she cries, as this could lead to overfeeding. For formula feeding, feel free to give your newborn a bottle if more than two hours have gone by. If you are breastfeeding, you can nurse your little one if more than one and a half hours have passed since the last session. And remember to keep your caffeine intake at no more than two servings a day if you are breastfeeding.
Try to stay calm
When learning how to make a baby stop crying, it’s best to lead by example in the sense that you want to try to remain as calm as possible. We know it can be easy to become frustrated or feel like you are doing something wrong when your baby cries. Just remember, you’re doing great, your infant crying is perfectly normal, and you will discover how to soothe your baby in no time.
If your baby shows any other symptoms or if you have any questions or concerns, remember to contact a healthcare professional for further support.
1 kidshealth.org – A to Z Symptom: Crying (Babies)
2 Seattle Children’s Hospital – Crying Baby – Before 3 Months Old