Comforting a Crying Baby
Crying is natural for babies. They typically have 1-2 hours of unexplained crying each day for the first three months of life. If your baby is crying, make sure their basic needs are met. If they have been changed, fed, and don’t have a fever, try to soothe or comfort them. You can’t spoil a baby by holding them too much. Here are some tips on how to comfort your baby. Never shake a baby.
Rock your baby in a rocking chair, cradle, or while standing.
Lay your baby down on their tummy across your knees. Or hold them under their belly with your forearm. Gently massage their back. You can also lay them on their back and gently rub their tummy.
Take them for a stroller ride. Don’t worry about the weather. Strollers can be used inside or outside. A few quick trips around the couch or down the hallway may help.
Swaddling is the most helpful technique for calming a crying baby. It also helps keep your baby from waking up with a startle reflex. Our Resource Center has resources for learning to swaddle.
Pair swaddling with a low-pitched noise, like a vacuum cleaner or fan. Noise machines are also useful. Avoid making the noise too loud. You don’t want to damage your baby’s hearing.
Try to get your baby to sleep at night. That way, they’re happier during the day. Our Resource Center has tips on helping your baby learn how to sleep.
If nothing you do seems to calm the baby, just step away. Swaddle them and place them in a safe place and leave the room. Let your baby fuss until they fall asleep. For some babies, this is the only answer. You can also try a pacifier. (These are fine for breastfed babies once breastfeeding has been established.)
Wait. Don’t shake.
It’s normal to feel stressed when your baby cries. Babies can sense when we’re stressed. This can make them fussier. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a moment for yourself. Put your baby down in a safe place, like their crib, and take a break. They’ll be okay. Call a friend or family member for help. Wait a bit before picking your baby back up. Never shake a baby. This can cause brain damage and even death.
You’ve got this! Sometimes babies cry for no reason. Take breaks when you can. Ask for help when you need it. If you’re really worried, call your baby’s doctor.