Consoling a Crying Baby
Before they have the words or the hand and eye coordination to get your attention or communicate, babies will cry to let you know that something is up. This is your cue to try to figure out why they’re crying and do something to soothe your crying baby.
Reasons Why Babies Cry
There are all kinds of reasons why your baby cries and with a little time you’ll get to recognize what is your baby needs and what to do to soothe them.
The following are common reasons why babies cry:
- Soiled Diaper
- Discomfort (swaddled too tight, uncomfortable position…)
- Pain (gas, cramping…)
- Loud noise, bright lights, and other over-stimulation
In most cases, a baby’s crying isn’t cause for alarm and not due to anything serious. If you’re concerned watch for other signs and symptoms that something may be wrong. If your baby cries for long periods of time in the absence of obvious illness or discomfort even though you’ve tried every way you can think of to console them, then it may be colic.
10 Tips to Soothe Baby
The following are 10 tips to help you console a crying baby:
- Hold them. Holding and cuddling your baby provides the reassurance and physical contact he or she needs and wants. Just being in your arms and feeling the warmth of your body is one of the best ways to console a crying baby.
- Feed them. Crying is the only way a baby knows how to express hunger.
- Rub their tummy. Not only is the feel of your hand on them soothing, but rubbing your baby’s tummy can also help dispel gas that may be causing them to cry.
- Swaddle them. Often times a baby will cry because they’re cold or uncomfortable. Being swaddled will help your baby feel warm and safe.
- Give them a pacifier. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a pacifier is a good way to satisfy your baby’s sucking needs if they’re not being met by nursing or bottle feeding.
- Put on some music. The womb is not a quiet place thanks the constant sound of your heart beating and your blood pumping. Putting on music or a sound machine is a great way to soothe some babies.
- Rock or swing them. Most babies enjoy being rocked. You can gently rock your baby in your arms while walking about or sitting in a rocking chair. A baby swing is also a great choice for those that enjoy being rocked.
- Take them for a drive or a stroll. A short drive in the car or a stroll around the block provides the constant and gentle motion that many babies find comforting. Holding your baby’s car seat on a running washing machine will also have a similar effect.
- Bathe them. Though not all babies enjoy bath time, most of them do find a warm bath soothing. Make sure the water is a comfortable temperature by dipping your elbow in to check. It shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. The feel of the water and your hand on their skin as you wash can be very comforting.
- Skin to skin cuddles. Holding your baby against your bare skin is a wonderful way to not just console a crying baby, but also to bond with your baby. Lie down and hold your naked baby against your skin while covering both of you with a blanket. This is referred to as “kangaroo care” and is a method commonly used in hospitals with newborns and especially preemies.
Along with these methods, one of the most important things that you can do when trying to figure out how to soothe a crying baby is to first pay attention as the pitch of the cry and their body language will tell you a lot. Over time you will be able to recognize what your baby needs and what works best to soothe your baby.