10 Tips to Soothe a Crying Baby

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What to do when your baby cries? Relax. Credit: Pig Sty Avenue, Flickr

Like it or not, crying is a major form of communication for babies.

"Babies cry hours and hours a day," says Amy Guiot, a clinical instructor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "I mean hours. It's normal."

It's their way of telling you that they're hungry, wet or unhappy, she says. Addressing the unhappy cry can make for some tense parenting moments, so ParentDish asked Guiot and James Peinkofer, author of "101 Ways to Soothe a Crying Baby," for some tips.
Both experts stress the importance of staying calm while dealing with your baby, and the importance of asking for help when the cries become overwhelming. If your child has a fussy time of day, ask a grandparent or friend to visit then.

"Prepare for that and take turns," he says. He suggests dealing with the baby in half-hour shifts.

  1. 1. Give the baby a head-to-toe checkup. Does he have a dirty diaper? Is she hungry? Is the baby too hot or too cold? (Babies do not need more layers of clothes than adults.)
  2. 2. Get baby moving. Babies often like motion. Try rocking them in their car seat or gently moving them up and down in your arms, making sure their head and neck are supported.
  3. 3. Create some white noise. It can be calming to an infant, so run the vacuum or clothes dryer. Static noise from a radio or television station often works too.
  4. 4. Go for a drive. The motion of a car often lulls baby to sleep.
  5. 5. Offer a pacifier or clean finger. Sucking is a way babies calm themselves.
  6. 6. Try swaddling. Babies respond to being wrapped up like a burrito.
  7. 7. Get wet. If the baby has lost his or her umbilical cord, try a warm, relaxing bath.
  8. 8. Give baby a chance to calm himself. Place him in his crib or bassinet in a darkened room and see if he will cry himself to sleep.
  9. 9. Release the gas. Lay baby face down across your legs while you are seated and gently pat her back.
  10. 10. Sing a song. Try singing or humming baby to sleep.
Related: Why a Good Cry May Not Be So Good for You

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.