Baby care 101
Soothing your crying baby
If your baby cries often, it doesn't mean you're a bad parent. It can be very frustrating when your baby keeps crying even after your best efforts to make him feel better. But as you get to know your baby, you'll learn how much crying is normal for him and what you can do to soothe him.
How can you soothe your baby when she cries?
It's important to respond quickly when your baby cries during the first few months of life. Don't worry about spoiling your newborn baby. If you respond quickly to your baby's cries, she may cry less overall.
If your baby cries, try the following:
- Check to make sure he isn't hungry.
- Check to make sure he has a clean diaper. If not, change it.
- Look for signs of illness or pain. Check if he has a fever over 100.4 degrees, swollen gums or an ear infection.
- Rock the baby or walk with him.
- Sing or talk to the baby.
- Offer him a pacifier or a toy.
- Take him for a ride in a stroller.
- Take him for a ride in the car. Be sure baby is secured in the car seat.
- Swaddle the baby by wrapping her snugly in a receiving blanket.
- Play soft music or turn on TV. Be sure the sound is low and soothing.
- Run the vacuum cleaner, put on the clothes dryer or run water in the bathtub or sink. Some babies like these rhythmic noises.
- Hold the baby close to your body. Breathe calmly and slowly.
- If nothing else works, put the baby in his crib on his back, close the door and check on him in 10 minutes.
If your baby cries longer than usual and nothing you do soothes him, call your baby's health care provider to see if there is a medical reason or if he's sick. If he pulls up his legs or passes gas often, he may have colic (intense crying for more than 3 hours a day).
And remember, NEVER shake your baby. If you begin to feel very frustrated, call a friend or relative for help. Not only does this give you a break, but having a new face can sometimes calm your baby.
Do premature or NICU babies cry more often?
Some studies show that premature babies are more likely to be fussy than babies who are born full term. They may be harder to soothe, cry often, and have trouble eating and sleeping. If your baby is fussy, it may be comforting to know that you are not alone. Your baby will soon outgrow this difficult phase.
Some babies who have been in the NICU have trouble getting used to the quiet of home. Your baby may sleep better with some background music or a low level of noise.
Last reviewed September 2012
Why baby cries
- She's hungry.
- He has a dirty diaper.
- She needs to be calmed.
- He doesn’t feel well.