14 Ways to Soothe a Crying Baby

Whether your baby is colicky or not, every baby cries at some point.  Crying is a baby’s only form of communication in the early months and it is instinct for a baby to let caregivers know when she needs something.  Very quickly parents learn to discern the various cries of their baby because a hungry cry will sound different than a sleepy cry or a dirty diaper cry.  And sometimes babies just cry because they don’t even know what they need or want.

Crying babies can be quite frustrating to parents, especially when the cries seem to be for no good reason.  Next time you’re faced with a fussy baby, try these 14 ways to soothe a crying baby:

  1. 14 Ways to Soothe a Crying BabyHold Your Baby: Experts agree that when a young infant cries, you should pick them up.  Their cries are asking for help and they need to know that someone is there to meet their needs.  Plus, skin-to-skin contact helps calm babies, stabilize their heartbeat (which may be elevated when they are upset) and regulate their temperature.
  2. Sing to Your Baby: Your baby will love the sound of your voice.  After all, she’s been hearing it for the past 9 months from the womb.  Regardless of your ability to carry a tune, your voice will be beautiful music to your baby’s ears.  And the vibrations of your vocal chords will also help soothe your baby if you hold her close while singing.
  3. Shush Your Baby: Your baby is accustomed to the constant sounds of the inner workings of your body such as your blood flow, heart beat and digestion.  So a noise like shushing is comforting to her because it is a familiar sound.  Sometimes a few minutes of shushing right against a baby’s ear is all that’s required to lull her to sleep.
  4. Swaddle Your Baby: The womb offers a warm and tight living space for your baby.  Mimic that experience by swaddling her tightly, especially during sleep time.  This will also help keep her contained so her involuntary arm and leg movements don’t wake her.
  5. Change Positions: Keeping your baby in the same position may get stagnant for her.  Try switching it up by holding her differently every once in awhile.  Also, putting pressure on her belly by holding her upside down along your arm may help relieve gas that could be causing her pain.
  6. Look for Distress: Sometimes babies become fussy because their clothes are too tight, a tag on their clothing is itchy, they have a rash or something else is making them uncomfortable.  Undress your baby and check her over from head-to-toe to look for the culprit.
  7. 14 Ways to Soothe a Crying BabyBreastfeed Your Baby: Breastfeeding is one of the most relaxing, nourishing and fulfilling ways you can soothe a crying baby.  Your breast milk alone can calm your baby but also the act of sucking and the closeness of breastfeeding will keep your baby quiet and happy.
  8. Vibrate Your Baby: Babies love vibrations, which is why many infant chairs have a vibration feature.  If you need more vibration options, hold your baby on top of the washing machine or dryer or drive your baby around the block a few times.  Much like adults, the vibrating movement can put a baby to sleep in no time.
  9. Turn on a Sounds or Music: You can only shush your baby for so long but a machine can go all night.  Use a sound machine with peaceful tunes such as running water, chirping birds or white noise, to help keep the sounds going.  Many babies also like music, which is excellent for your baby’s brain development.
  10. Bathe Your Baby: A warm bath might be a relaxing experience for your baby.  Use bath time as family time where you can caress your baby, look her in the eyes and share loving moments.
  11. Massage Your Baby: After a bath is a great time to give your baby a massage.  Using a natural oil or lotion, gently massage your baby’s arms, legs, belly and back.  This will feel amazing to your baby and your touch will help calm her and meet her emotional needs.
  12. Stroll Your Baby: Like vibrating, strolling can relax a baby quickly.  The constant movement induces drowsiness and she may also enjoy a change of scenery.  If you are trying to calm your baby, remove toys and anything that could over-stimulate your baby during stroller time.
  13. Give Your Baby a Pacifier: A baby’s instinct to suck is a natural way she can “pacify” herself.  Giving her a pacifier will help relieve that desire and soothe your baby.  If your baby likes to suck beyond breastfeeding, she may eventually find her thumb as well.
  14. Rock or Swing Your Baby: Swinging and rocking will remind your baby of her time in utero when she bounced around with your every movement.  Rocking your baby while standing or in a rocking chair may appease her, or try a baby swing that will do the job for you.

Babies will cry, there is no doubt about it.  But these ways to soothe a crying baby can help you keep your little bundle of joy happier and calmer.  Good luck!