How to Calm a Crying Baby

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Let’s face it; we’ve all been there. Whether they are newborns or nine months old, sometimes we’re unable to work out how to calm a crying baby.

Babies cry for a variety of reasons, and it’s our job as parents to try and soothe them. Working out what they need and how to quieten them can be a feat in itself.

Luckily, we are here with some tips that will hush your baby.

What Is Your Baby Crying For?

Our little ones may not be able to talk, but they sure know how to cry—especially when they want something. Make sure you try and work out the reason why they may be crying.

Some of the reasons may include:

  • Hunger 
  • Dirty diaper
  • Boredom 
  • Colic
  • Sickness
  • Tiredness
  • Discomfort

A baby’s cry will change depending on their needs and they will certainly make you aware if they want something. Over time, you will learn what different cries will mean for your baby. It can be confusing to start with, but it gets easier as you get to know each other.

Start by ensuring your baby isn’t hungry; change their diaper, and check if they are comfortable in the position and clothes they are in. If they’re still upset, there are some things you can try.

Wearing Your Little One

Holding your baby close to you with a carrier or sling is a great way to calm a crying baby. They will listen to your heartbeat and the movement will gently rock them to sleep. Your little one will enjoy the sensations and it will strengthen your bond.

Having a carrier is incredibly useful to you as well. One word: Multitasking.

Need to cook dinner but your baby is crying? No worries, put them in a sling and your movement will soothe them while you get on with cooking. You get the best of both worlds.

Singing a Song

If you are tone-deaf like me, this one may not be the best solution for you. Your partner will complain a lot. Believe me!

Saying that, your child has no clue whether you are the next Beyoncé or not. Words and noise bring them comfort and help calm them. I do suggest sticking with the nursery rhymes unless you want your baby’s first words to be “living on a prayer” though!

If you’re not into singing, talking or having some tunes playing throughout the day may help calm a crying baby. The stimulation from the sound provides a great distraction to your little one.

Let Me Entertain You

If you know your baby isn’t hungry and has a clean diaper, they may just be bored and in need of some entertaining. Find out a way that suits you so you are able to calm your baby with silliness. Sometimes doing things you wouldn’t normally think of turn out to be the best.

I’ve always found that reading in funny voices, using over-the-top expressions and showing them how to play works a treat. The sillier the better.

A good way to do this is to start with a children’s book and act it out as you go along. Make sure you take note of what gets a better reaction so you can use it in the future. This provides great entertainment and special bonding time with you and your baby.

Get Some Fresh Air

I understand the last thing on your mind when your baby is crying is wanting to go for a walk. Take my advice and try it out. It will surprise you how much your little one will change in just a few minutes.

The difference in atmosphere will not only calm a crying baby but it will have an effect on you too. A change of scenery and background noise may be the exact stimulation they need to relax. As for yourself, you can take a deep breath and enjoy a brisk walk to lower your stress levels.

Have a look in your local area for parks near you and easy routes to follow. Try taking them out for a stroll every day and try out different areas. It will have so many benefits for both you and baby.

Colic Carry

If your little one is crying non-stop, it may be time to try the “colic carry.”  This method is an effective way to relieve any gas that they may have built up. Adding a little bit of pressure on their tummy works wonders to reduce pain and help them relax.

When trying to relieve gas to calm a crying baby, make sure you are always supporting them. You can either lie them on their front or back. This depends on what is more comfortable for the both of you and whether your baby can tolerate lying on their tummy.

This was a godsend when I couldn’t soothe my eldest. I had tried everything and then came across this method. After two minutes of gentle soothing he had calmed down and I could finally relax.

Massage Time!

Just like with adults, massaging your baby can relax them. It is also an excellent way to distract them and wipe their tears away. Using a light touch, you are able to calm your little one. Once massaged, give them a little tickle to get their giggles going.

Making small circles along the chest and stomach, and rolling each of their limbs is the easiest to give a gentle massage. You can also start at a certain point and work your way across. If your baby likes it, lie them on their tummy and stroke their back.

This is particularly good if your baby is crying from tiredness or stomach pain. Giving them a massage will calm them down quicker. It also helps improve their growth and sleep.

Rockabye Baby

The best form of calming a crying baby is sometimes the simplest. Picking up your little one and rocking them gently from side to side will soothe even the toughest of babies.

The gentle motion of swaying is a brilliant way of calming them to the point of sleep. It is also a great way to bring them closer to you and allow skin contact, especially when they are newborns. Some people opt for standing while others prefer a rocking chair. My secret weapon was the exercise ball from my pregnancy—my babies loved the motion of bouncing up and down.

With our youngest, we also decided to buy a rocker and it’s the best decision I have made in a while. No matter what time of the day if we hear crying, we are able to simply pick her up and cradle her. Not only that, I am able to put my feet up and watch my favorite show on TV while the little one sleeps.

Time for a Pacifier?

Babies are known to soothe themselves by sucking. It calms their nerves and quietens their tears. But should you let them use their thumb or a pacifier?

It’s really your choice at the end of the day. I always go for a pacifier rather than a thumb as I find that they are easier to wean off of them. If you can’t find one for the moment or don’t want to use one, their thumb or even your finger will suffice.

The sucking motion gently calms a crying baby and relaxes them. I would suggest waiting until they are comfortable with breastfeeding before introducing a pacifier to them.

Keeping Calm

Babies are constantly crying and in the first couple of weeks, they will do it more than anything. Using some of these tips to help calm a crying baby will have them soothed in no time.

Don’t feel put out if some of them don’t work for you. Every child is different, and one solution may work better than others. I find mixing them up every now and then helps keep them engaged.

Take every day as it comes. No parent knows how to deal with calming a crying baby to start with. Besides, we are all learning as we go.

Relax, take a deep breath. You got this.

Howard is a co-founder of Smart Parent Advice. When he isn't spending time with his wife, Kristin, or his two children, he can often be found running around on the tennis court.