25 Tips for How to Soothe a Crying Baby

How to Soothe a Crying Baby

Someone once told me that her son never cried. Not ever!  Not even once!

Two things come to mind:

1) That most definitely was not the experience I had with any of my seven babies.

2) Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Babies cry.  It’s just one of those things.  Your job as a parent or caretaker or babysitter or the lucky person on nursery duty with a room full of screaming babies is to figure out why the baby is crying and to do something about it.

In other words, you want to turn this:

How to soothe a crying baby

into this:

How to soothe a crying baby

or this:

How to soothe a crying baby

Here are some ideas from a mom who has been there.  (Actually, I’m still there!)

25 Tips for How to Soothe a Crying Baby

  1. Check the diaper. Is it wet, smelly, or chafing?  Is there a rash? Are the tabs or band poking the baby? Are the legs too tight?
  2. Determine if the baby is hungry or thirsty.  Even if your baby is not typically hungry at that time of day, she may be having a growth spurt and require more frequent feedings.
  3. Pick the little peanut up and hold her—she may simply be scared, bored, or lonely.
  4. 100_9626Cover a baby up if she appears cold or remove clothing if the baby seems too hot.
  5. Swaddle the baby snuggly or wrap her gently in a soft blanket.
  6. Take off the babies clothes and diaper. Hanging out in her birthday suit often helps to “reset” a baby who is simply in fuss mode…unless you have a little stinker that hates diaper changes and will fuss even more.
  7. Check the baby’s temperature, eyes, mouth, and nose for signs of being sick?  Runny nose, goopy or red eyes, and swollen gums are signs that baby’s under the weather.
  8. Hold the little wailer and walk back and forth.  Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.  Is this getting old yet? Repeat. Repeat. Aaaannnndddd repeat.  When you’re done, do it again.
  9. How to soothe a crying babySee if the baby wants a pacifier or her thumb…or her toes if she’s gifted.
  10. Speak softly to the baby.  Recite every Bible verse you ever learned in Sunday School and every poem you memorized in 9th grade English.  It’s also a good time to impress the little one with your Latin vocabulary skills…since, in my experience, nobody else really cares.
  11. Hold the baby close to your cheek (and, unfortunately, your ear) and breathe softly and slowly, but audibly…sort of a less-dark-side version of Darth Vader. Your calm, steady breathing is often contagious and could put the little sweetpea to sleep.
  12. Carry the little pumpkin in a baby carrier or in your arms so that her ear is close to your heart. The sound of a beating heart reminds her of the good ol’ days.
  13. Gently massage babies legs and feet or rub her head gently.
  14. Rub her tummy gently, either moving from the top to the bottom, or forming a U-shape beginning at the upper right region, going down, left and back up.
  15. Make use of white noise by turning on a vacuum cleaner (you may as well use it while it’s on) or running water. (I think we’re personally responsible for the drought in the desert.)
  16. Play soft music or sing quietly. I had a baby that would cry when I sang, so, well, enough about that.
  17. How to soothe a crying babyAllow the baby to play with or listen to something that makes noise, like guitar strings, piano keys, a bell, or a rattle.  You will most likely need to help out…seeing as baby is a baby.
  18. Get in the car and drive until baby falls asleep.  If you have one of “those” babies, don’t stop driving until she’s about eight years old.
  19. Babies like repetitive motion. Use a baby swing or vibrating seat, or do what Grandma did and rock in a rocking chair or push baby in a carriage, or do what I do and sway.
  20. Hold the baby’s hands or try crossing her arms gently over her chest so she is not flailing.  She will feel more secure.
  21. Lay the baby on her tummy, either on your lap, chest, or other safe surface, and gently rub her back.
  22. Burp her gently.  It might just be gas.
  23. Show her something with lights or bright, contrasting colors.
  24. Take baby to a dark, quiet room.
  25. Engage baby by looking directly into her face and talking with her using a happy face.

How to soothe a crying baby

If these tips for how to soothe a crying baby don’t work, you must have one of my children you may have a colicky baby. In that case, read these tips on dealing with colic naturally.

Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. If there is no help available, do not feel guilty about laying baby down in a safe place such as her crib, and stepping out of the room for a few minutes.  Your baby needs you to stay calm, so if you’re losing it, step away until you’ve found it again.  She might fall asleep while you’re gone…or she might throw up all over, kick her diaper off, and cover her nice homemade baby blanket, the crib, and maybe the nearby wall in baby poo.  Whoa—flashback!

IMPORTANT! Never ever ever ever ever shake your baby, get angry and rough with her, or leave her with anybody with a short fuse or questionable tolerance levels. No matter what!  Even if it means offending someone, put your baby’s safety first. Every time!

Remember, your sweet baby is not upsetting you on purpose. She really can’t help her behavior.  She’s scared, confused, and uncomfortable. She wants to feel safe and happy just as much as you do. You’re on the same team!

I apologize for the overuse of “she” in my solutions above.  I’m barely aware that babies come in the “he” variety. See:

How to soothe a crying baby

What are your best tips for how to soothe a crying baby?

5 thoughts on “25 Tips for How to Soothe a Crying Baby”

  1. Our first and only so far is 18 months now. He was a fussy, easily overstimulated baby (but of course I have no others to compare him to yet, right?… I just prefer to think we had it unusually rough the first time…) I discovered after a while that he actually was often bored. A change of scenery helped. Using a baby carrier (Moby wrap) around the house, or taking him outside for a walk really helped. I was the crazy mom going out in January with a 6 week old in the Moby, bundled from head to foot. Hey, it kept him happy!

  2. Hi. I have seen a Japanese documentary show on TV and they have a very creative way of stopping a crying baby. Take a video camera with the LED screen display facing the baby. The baby after looking their own face on the LED screen immediately stop crying. On the show, they have test this method in a child care center and it works. Parent try it and let everyone know whether this method is workable!

  3. Check their fingers and toes – one of my friends had a baby who got a hair wrapped so tightly around one of her toes that she had to go to the doctor to make sure they got it all. He said if it went too long she could have lost her toe.

    Good list, there was at least one I’m not sure I’ve tried. 🙂

  4. When my little stinker, I mean sweetie, is cranky, I give her a bath. I figure maybe she’s having one of those “Calgon, take me away!” kind of days. Also, I try to think of all the things that might make me cranky. Maybe she has a headache, or some body part itches that she isn’t coordinated enough to scratch, or a clothing tag is tickling her.

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