Crying: How to Soothe Your Baby

Every baby cries. Crying for one to four hours a day can be normal.

A typical 6-week-old infant spends about three hours a day crying. At first this may be hard for you if your baby has been sick; you may be worried that he / she is getting sick again. Or maybe you feel that you should be able to comfort your baby, and yet nothing you do stops the crying. Do not blame yourself.

Crying is one of the ways that newborns speak for themselves. They often have a distinct cry for separate feelings: hunger, pain or need for attention. There is also the half-awake whimper that indicates the baby is dreaming and will likely fall back asleep.

Listen to your baby and try to decide what he / she needs:

  • Try changing his / her diaper. Some babies are very uncomfortable with a wet or dirty diaper and are asking you to change them.
  • Babies should eat every three to four hours. Do not feed your baby every time he / she cries.
  • Most babies like to take a walk or a ride. Try patting, rocking, singing, reading to them, or distracting them with toys.
  • If active things do not work, try making things quieter. Maybe your baby needs to settle down to softer lights and music.  Sometimes babies just want to be with you and be held by you.
  • Wrap him / her snugly in a blanket. Babies like to feel warm and secure.
  • See if your baby might like to calm down with the help of a pacifier.

There is no right answer. What works today may not work tomorrow.

If you have tried all of these actions and your baby is still crying, try some of these suggestions:

  • Have someone else take care of your baby for a short period of time.
  • Get advice from someone you trust. Sometimes talking to another person can be enough to help you.
  • Put your baby safely in his / her crib, close the door and give yourself a break. Check on your baby every 15 minutes if he / she is still crying. Do not feel guilty. Parenting is hard work.
  • Call your child's doctor. The doctor can reassure you that your baby is not sick. Ask your child's doctor for other suggestions to help you and your baby.

Shaking your baby can cause very serious harm and even death.

If you become frustrated or angry, put your baby down in a safe place, like the playpen or crib, and walk away. Check on your baby every 15 minutes.

Talk to someone for emotional support. This is the best thing you can do for your baby and yourself.


Last Updated 12/2013