Babies cry for all sorts of reasons –they cry when they’re hungry, tired, bored, wet, and so on. They can switch from a bubbly cherub to a hot mess within seconds. Sometimes, all it takes to calm your little down is a feeding, a diaper change, a burp, a gentle touch, or the sound of your voice.
But then there are times it seems like nothing you do can calm your baby down, which can be very frustrating. Here are some tips on how to soothe a crying baby.
1. Rock your baby
If your baby is fussy, try rocking him in a rocking chair or glider to calm him down. If you prefer a hands-free option, consider putting your little one in a motorized baby swing, an automatic cradle, or a vibrating bouncy seat. Before going for any of these devices, make sure that they are age and weight appropriate.
Although these devices come in handy, you don’t want your baby to become dependent on the rocking motion to fall asleep. To keep this from happening, let him start to nod off, and then gently transfer him to his crib.
2. Try swaddling
Swaddling your precious one in a soft, receiving blanket will make them feel cozy and safe. According to researchers, swaddling may be comforting to babies because it replicates the feeling of being in a womb. Many babies tend to settle down faster and snooze longer when swaddled up. Your child may prefer their arm to be left free, to allow some degree of movement. To achieve that, simply swaddle by putting the blanket's upper edge at armpit level rather than chin level.
3. Give a massage
What better way to get your baby to calm down and relax than giving them a massage. You can try massaging them with baby massage oils, but if you don’t have them, a firm but gentle touch should suffice.
Start by stroking his chest from the center outward, then move downward to make small circles around a belly button. Gently roll his limbs between your hands, unfurling his fists and rubbing her hands, as well as massaging her feet and uncurling her toes.
4. Play a song (or sing one)
You don’t have to limit yourself to lullabies when trying to get your little one to calm down – try all sorts of different genres and songs. Like rocking your baby, music can calm the nervous system, subsequently decreasing a baby’s respiratory and heart rate.
You can also try singing to your baby to soothe them – after all, your baby can’t tell if you’re singing off-key. Infants may find the sound of you singing to be especially calming, as they recognize your voice.
5. Take them on a walk
The motion of walking may be all your baby needs to calm down. Going outside might be even more effective as fresh air has been known to work wonders for cranky babies. The change in air, light, sights, temperature, smells will likely impact your baby’s mood for the better – and yours too. If the weather is unfavorable, consider strapping your child into her car seat and going for a drive.
6. Bust out the pacifier
Another way you can get your fussy to calm down is by encouraging sucking. Try helping him to find his finger or thumb, or offer your clean finger. You can also try offering a pacifier, though you might want to consider holding off introducing one until breastfeeding has been well-established.
7. Play with your baby
Your baby may be crying simply because they’re bored out of their mind. To entertain your little one, try getting down to their level and showing them how her toys spin and rattle. You can also try narrating silly tales or your actions, complete with funny noises and animated expressions. Some babies love to watch you dance, while others enjoy listening to you as you read a simple rhyming board book.
8. White noise may do the trick
You can try soothing your baby having them listen to rhythmic whooshing sounds. Consider investing in white-noise machines or mobiles that create a calm, womb-like environment that soothes fussy infants and encourages them to stop crying.
Keep in mind that white noise is intended to be in the background, so while you might be tempted to drown out your baby’s crying, you don’t want your white-noise machine to be too loud. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a white-noise device should not be set louder than 50 decibels (this is about as loud as a quiet dishwasher)
9. Put them in a carrier
Soothe your little one by wearing him in a front-pack carrier and walking around with him. Babies are comforted by the feeling of closeness, plus a carrier allows you to carry on with your tasks without having to put your baby. A front-pack sling or carrier that will have your baby facing your body is especially ideal for the first three months when he can’t support his own head. As your little one gets older, you can convert your sling to a back or side hold.
10. Put out lights
You may find putting your baby in a completely dark to be effective at soothing them. Babies can easily be stimulated by their surroundings, causing them to find and cry. A dark, quiet room is reminiscent of the womb environment, so it might help them to settle down and relax. So, next time you’re having a hard time calming your little one, try pulling down blackout shades and dimming the light.
11. Try to stay calm
The constant crying of a baby can be unnerving and affect your response, so try your best to stay calm. Take deep breaths and try to remember that your baby needs your help. Be patient and gentle, and your energy may just rub off on your baby and encourage him to calm down.
There are several ways you can soothe a crying baby. If you’re having a hard time calming your child, try the techniques recommended in this post. If your baby is inconsolable or cries frequently for seemingly no reason, consider seeking help from a pediatrician or a child development specialist.