Even though crying is a normal part of babies’ development, it can be painful to hear babies cry.
Sometimes, you can help. Your baby may:
- Need to eat, sleep, be burped, or have a diaper change.
- Have clothing that pinches or is too tight. If you’re not sure whether your baby’s clothing is comfortable enough, check for marks on his skin from his clothing.
- Be overstimulated. You can dim lights and turn down sounds.
- Feel unwell and need some comfort.
Ways to calm and comfort your crying baby:
- Hold your baby close with skin-to-skin contact.
- Swaddle your baby tightly (but not too tightly) in a blanket.
- Walk and sing with your baby, carrying her in your arms or a carrier
- Try different types of movements such as swinging or swaying.
- Give your baby a warm, soothing bath. (Never leave a baby alone in the water.)
- Use soothing sounds such as a fan, music, or other background noise.
- Give a gentle massage. Rub on lotion or a light oil like almond oil. Gently massage your baby’s arms, legs, toes, and tummy.
- Go for a stroller ride in the fresh air or slow ride in the car, if you’re not too stressed to drive safely.
- Offer a pacifier or other sucking stimulation. (If breastfeeding, you may want to wait to use a pacifier until your child is 3-4 weeks old.) Toddlers and preschoolers may still want to use a pacifier, but regular use may damage their teeth.
Sometimes, your baby just won’t stop crying. It can be frustrating when you feel that you cannot meet his needs. You are not alone. Most parents experience these frustrating times.
There is a certain type of crying, known as PURPLE, which can be very difficult. Not all crying is PURPLE, and even PURPLE crying does come to an end.
Ideas for keeping your stress level down:
- Soothe yourself. Calming yourself may even help calm your baby.
- Share your feelings with a partner, friend, loved one, or another parent.
- As much as possible, get the sleep you need.
If you are losing your cool:
- Put your baby someplace safe (like her crib or strapped into her swing) for 5-10 minutes. Walk away until you have calmed yourself.
- Once you are calm, go back and check on the baby.
- Stay in control of your anger and know your limits.
- Never shake your child. Serious head trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome) can happen very quickly and can lead to brain damage and death.
Make sure that everyone who is caring for your baby knows they should never shake the baby, no matter what. Give them ideas of what helps to soothe your baby, so they are prepared to handle your baby if she cries.