10 ways to calm a crying baby

10 ways to calm a crying baby

  • Why so fussy?

    All babies cry, but with time, you'll understand what your little one needs. Here are the most common reasons your baby might be crying. Call your doctor if your baby has difficulty breathing while crying or also has a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea.

  • I'm hungry

    Hunger is one of the most common reasons that newborn babies cry.

    Your baby's small stomach can't hold very much, so if she cries, try offering some milk. She may be hungry, even if her last feeding doesn't seem very long ago.

  • I'm tired

    Your baby may find it hard to get to sleep, particularly if he's overtired. Babies can have a range of sleep cues: He may whine or cry at the slightest thing, or stare blankly into space and get quiet. Help your older baby by teaching him to soothe himself to sleep.

  • I need a diaper change

    Your baby may protest if a wet or soiled diaper is bothering her. If her tender skin is being irritated, she'll probably tell you by crying. Always use diaper rash cream at changes, and if possible, give your baby some diaper-free time.

  • I want to be held

    Your baby will need lots of cuddling and reassurance. Try a baby sling, so you can sway and sing while you hold him close.

  • I need to burp

    If your baby cries during or immediately after a feeding, she may have gas. Gas is simply the air in your baby's tummy, which she swallows as she feeds or when she cries. Patting or rubbing your baby's back is a good way to burp her.

  • I'm too hot

    Be careful not to overdress your baby so he doesn't become too hot. He'll generally need to wear one more layer of clothing than you to be comfortable.

  • I'm too cold

    Your baby may hate having her diaper changed or being bathed because she's not used to the feeling of cold air on her skin. But you'll soon learn how to perfect a quick diaper change.

  • I don't feel well

    Be aware of changes in your baby. If he's unwell, he'll probably cry in a different tone than his usual wail. It may be weaker, more urgent, continuous, or higher pitched.

    Nobody knows your baby as well as you do. If you think there might be something wrong with him, call your doctor.

  • There's too much going on!

    If your baby has received a lot of attention and cuddles from doting visitors, she may become overstimulated. Take your baby somewhere calm and quiet to help her settle down.

  • I just feel like crying!

    If your baby is younger than 5 months old, he may cry in the late afternoon and evenings. This is normal, but it can be very stressful for you. (Persistent crying in an otherwise healthy baby under 5 months of age is called colic.)

    But even a baby who's not colicky can cry for no reason that you can figure out. Fortunately, you can offer comfort without knowing the cause of distress.

    Try cuddling and swaying with your baby, going for a drive, or creating white noise (with a hair dryer, for example). Get more tried-and-true strategies for soothing your fussy, crying baby.

Dana Dubinsky is a health and science editor.

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