How To Soothe A Crying Baby
Babies are gentle creatures and they can get easily irritated if something’s not right. And because in the beginning, they don’t have any developed and more complex mechanisms to articulate what they’re lacking or needing at the moment, their first and primary instinct is to start crying - a very effective expression for drawing immediate attention.
And while the reasons for crying may range from the very trivial to the very serious (hunger, tiredness, digestive issues, allergies, overstimulation, fear, underlying medical issue), it’s still a very general response that can make you go crazy if it happens a little too often.
You can often feel like you’re not doing your parenting job right, or that something’s wrong with your baby, that you’re constantly on the verge of losing your cool and that you can’t really connect with your little one because you’re not able to fulfill their needs.
But you shouldn’t have to worry too much.
Frequent crying is something that a lot of infants share and it’s definitely not something that you constantly need to worry about. With the right amount of patience and the right soothing techniques, you’ll see how that little fussy nugget will turn from an unresponsive and upset baby into a calm bundle of joy.
Just keep reminding yourself that you can and will have the situation under control. If you do feel like the constant crying has to do with something more serious and is followed by a bunch of other physical symptoms (like fever, swollen gums, runny nose), then it would be a good idea to get advice from a doctor and maybe even do a check-up for your baby.
But next, we’re going to go over the main techniques for effectively soothing a crying baby.
This is an age-old technique used by parents all over the world and it has indeed proved itself to be one of the most effective baby-soothing methods that you can think of. This is because the act of swaddling your little one in a blanket or larger cloth will make them feel secure and cozy. Researchers and doctors think that the swaddle creates the well-known womb-like feeling the baby is so comfortable with. And indeed, it’s no surprise it has stuck so long with humanity. Parents also use it as a means for helping their little ones sleep better and longer. If you want more information on swaddling and details on how to do it right, you can check out our special article
devoted to it.
This is another age-old technique for soothing a crying baby, and another favorite of parents worldwide, which has accounted for it being used throughout the centuries. And while in the past there was usually one kind of rocking chair or something of the like, nowadays there’s a plethora of choices when it comes to rocking chairs or gliders for your baby.
In fact, there are special types of them that offer a hands-free option that will relieve you of that constant and sometimes tedious task of rocking the chair or glider. So next time your baby becomes restless and fussy, try putting them in an automatic cradle, a motorized baby swing or a vibrating bouncy seat.
Just make sure to always follow the safety instructions that come with the chairs; these usually have to do with the weight and age restrictions concerning the item.
Also, it’s not really a good idea to let your baby fall asleep or nod off all the time when placed in a rocking chair because they may get dependent on it and then find it harder to do it in their usual crib. What you can do instead is when you notice that they’re on the edge of falling asleep, just take them back to their crib and let them sleep it off there.
Use a Pacifier
Some babies suck their fingers, some prefer a pacifier, but however it is, babies do like to soothe themselves with what’s called ‘non-nutritive sucking’. It’s called non-nutritive because it doesn’t involve any food and it doesn’t fill their tummies with breastmilk, but it nevertheless helps with calming their nerves. So the next time your little one starts crying, you can help them find their thumb or some other finger, sometimes even their fist.
Pacifiers and binkies are another option you can use and that has proved itself effective in soothing a crying baby, but it’s important to remember to introduce them after you’ve started breastfeeding for some time already.
Wear Your Baby in a Sling
Wearing your little one in a sling or another similar type of front-pack carrier has also been proved very effective in soothing them. There are several reasons behind this: babies enjoy being gently swung and the slow, constant rhythm of steps enables this. They also find it very comforting when placed very close to their mother, especially when they hear her heartbeat, which reminds them of the comfort and peace of the womb. Another great thing about the carrier is that it very convenient for parents as well - you can do a bunch of stuff outside or inside the house with your baby close by your side and your hands will always remain free! Changing the environment short term has also proved an effective way for soothing a crying baby. When using a sling or a carrier make sure your baby is positioned facing towards your body. And don’t worry if your baby is a bit skeptical of it the first couple of times - they’ll eventually grow to love it!
For the best baby carry slings currently out there, you can check out our product guide here
. If you want to know more about baby carriers and get advice on how to choose the best one for you, click here
Turn on White Noise
Rhythmic, even sounds can be of great help for calming your baby down. This also has a lot to do with how it reminds them of the peaceful time in the womb and it’s really easy to test it out. You can find lots of white-noise machines and mobile applications that have a variety of sound options from which you can choose, so try them out and see which one will suit your baby best. If you don’t have anything else at your disposal, sometimes even a simple shushing coming from you may help them calm down and fall asleep.
Sing to Your Little One
The same goes for singing. Singing is something that also helps to soothe a crying baby, especially if it’s in their mother’s voice. You can sing them anything you want that has a more soothing, lullaby tone, regardless of whether it’s a well-known nursery rhyme, a cheesy low-key pop-tune, or something that you make up on your own. And don’t worry about any singing quality - as long as it comes from you, your baby won’t mind at all whether your pitch is perfect or totally off-key!
Give Your Baby a Bath
Some babies tend to get more agitated after a bath, but some actually settle down, as the whole ritual helps them become more sleepy and calm. If you notice this about your baby, then it’ll be a good idea to make it a part of a regular chilling-out routine.
You can use some aromatic, baby-friendly washes or soaps which can act as additional soothing means. Lavender and chamomile extracts are especially effective when it comes to that. If you’re still new to the parenting business, you can check our article
covering everything you need to know about a baby’s first bath. For the best natural baby soaps and shampoos, you can check our guides here
Give Your Baby a Massage
Let’s be honest: everybody loves being massaged and your baby certainly is no exception. In fact, massaging can be a very relaxing activity for both of you - it will stop their crying and it will give you a bit of piece of mind, while also providing additional bonding time with your little one. You can use baby lotions if you want (check out the best, organic ones here
), or nothing at all, depending on your preferences. Make sure to be gentle when applying a little pressure on your baby, but also firm enough so you don’t actually end up tickling them.
There are several massage techniques that you can try out to soothe your baby:
- Stroke their chest moving from the center towards the outward parts; you can also make small circles around their belly button.
- Gently roll their arms and legs in between your hands - you can take turns with each limb or alternate your hands with a stroking motion of the limbs.
- Rub the palms and fingers, and also massage the soles on their feet. If their fingers and toes are curled, uncurl them before doing the message.
- If your baby doesn’t mind, turn them on their time for a short time and stroke their back from one side to the other, and up and down as well.
Use the ‘Colic Carry’ Technique
Sometimes babies cry because they have tummy issues and gas. In these instances, the only thing they need is to get some pressure on their tummy, to help them relieve colic and gas. The technique of laying your little one on your forearm with their tummy, while cradling their head in your hand, is called ‘colic carry’. You can also lay them across your lap - one of your knees will gently press their tummy, while the other will help support their head. A third option is to lay them on their back and gently push the knees up to their tummy for about 10 seconds, and then release and repeat a couple of times in order to relieve gas.