How to Calm a Crying Baby
Below are some tips to try if your baby is crying. These might apply to a newborn, older baby, toddler or child.
Identify a Need. Try to work out why your baby might be crying: Offer them a feed, change their nappy, change them into warmer/lighter/looser fitting clothing –depending on the weather, do they need to change position, or just want a cuddle. Are they tired, you may want to try settling them to sleep .
Picking up baby and walking. This is one of the most effective ways of settling an unhappy baby. Hold them to you and slowly walk around the house.
Baby Wearing. Wearing your baby can also help calm them and make them feel more secure –also helps you carry on with your day if baby is unsettled.
Skin to Skin Time. Particularly for newborns, this can be really helpful, try warming the room, remove all or most of baby’s clothes, and even try putting them just inside a loose fitting top – ensuring their head is out of your clothing and their face is clearly visible to you and be mindful not to fall asleep.
Bath or Shower. You can get in the bath with baby, to double up on relaxing warm water and skin to skin, or have a shower with baby. Some babies calm immediately when in water – even if they start crying as soon as they are taken out, at least you both had an opportunity to catch your breath.
Change of Scenery. Get out of the house, go for a walk, drive in the car, even just get out into the backyard or balcony, get some fresh air, show baby trees and point at birds or the sky. This might help you calm down also if you’re feeling trapped in with an unsettled baby.
Put on Some Music. Try calming music to sooth baby, or put on some up-beat tunes and have a dance and sing, try to cheer baby up and lighten the mood.
Distract with Toys. Offer baby their favourite toy or activity to play with, or try reading them a picture book – you may need to calm baby down first before introducing a new focus.
Put Baby Down. If you are getting overwhelmed or upset yourself it’s okay to put baby down in a safe space – like their cot – and walk away so you can calm down. It’s totally okay if you’re feeling frustrated or even angry at baby if they’re been unsettled for a long time, if this happens you need to acknowledge those feelings, put the baby down, and maybe have a drink of water, splash some water on your own face, get something to eat, get some fresh air – and then get back to settling baby.
Phone a Friend. If baby has been crying or unsettled all day and you are totally fed up, call sometime, see if they can come over or meet you somewhere for a chat and debrief – or even to come hold the baby for you for a few minutes so you can have a shower and calm down.