How To Soothe A Crying Baby: Tricks For New Parents

It’s natural for you to be a little upset to not know what to do when your baby cries. And, it’s okay. Here is what you can do to soothe a crying baby.

By D Tejaswi
04 Aug 2022

What’s the first thing babies do to communicate? They cry. As per a 1999 paper published in the National Library of Medicine (USA), Why do babies cry, a crying baby seeks attention from parents so that they can be comforted. Babies cry because they may be in pain or feeling hungry and uncomfortable ( feeling warm or cold). Often picking them up does the trick, but sometimes you may have to try different things before you learn how to make a baby stop crying. As a new parent, if you feel like you're losing control, place your baby in a safe place and relax for a few minutes. Take slow, deep breaths and calm down. Remember the calmer you are the better you will be able to help your baby and don’t hesitate to ask for help.


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Reasons Why Babies Cry


1. Fever

While fever alone does not cause much crying, fever accompanied by pain in any part of the body can result in crying babies. Fever in infants is defined as a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) and above. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend measuring body temperature in the armpit, by using an electronic thermometer for infants less than 4 weeks of age. For infants, over and above, 3 months rectal and forehead temperatures are most accurate. If your child does have a fever, call the doctor right away.


How to make a baby stop crying because of fever:

You can soothe the baby by offering skin-to-skin contact or gently patting the baby’s back while you hold the baby warm. Check with a doctor for medication and apply cold compress.


2. Hunger

If you’ve given birth recently, it might be overwhelming for you to figure out how to make a baby stop crying. Your infant is probably already quite hungry by the time they start to cry. Infants' crying is typically a delayed symptom of hunger. Babies typically calmly indicate that they are hungry via a variety of indications before crying. Some of the common indications include making sucking motions with their mouth, drooling more, being more awake and active and turning their head to the side searching for food. Understand these signs at the right time to help the baby stop crying.


How to make a baby stop crying because of hunger:

Feed your baby at right intervals as feeding causes a baby to relax because food for the baby not only alleviates hunger but also releases oxytocin in the baby’s brain. Oxytocin induces a calming reflex almost immediately, causing the crying baby to stop, notes the paper Infant and young children feeding.


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3. Diaper rash

Infants who have a diaper rash frequently cry or fuss when the affected region is touched or cleaned, notes Paediatrics Child Health, 2007. In severe circumstances, the rash may result in ulcers, blisters, or pimples around your baby's diaper. The skin may turn bright red and swell up if the rash becomes infected. You need to check with your doctor immediately.


How to get a baby to stop crying because of diaper rashes:

In general, it is essential to practise good hygiene to keep the diaper area healthy. Everytime you change the diaper, observe your baby’s bottom carefully and check for the development of a rash. Apply anhydrous, natural oils and butter-containing diaper rash ointment every time you change their diaper such as one by Equals Two, which is made with 100 per cent natural ingredients such as freeze-dried tender concoct water, oat lipids, witch hazel, natural tocopherol and others to promote healing of the skin. The diaper rash ointment protects the skin around the diaper area from coming in contact with urine, and feces thereby reducing irritation. Diaper rash ointments work better over creams and lotions as they evenly spread on the skin, in contrast to creams and solutions, notes The British Journal Of Dermatology. Once the baby is free from any kind of rash, the baby should stop crying or getting fussy.


4. Tiredness, boredom or wanting a cuddle

Sometimes a crying baby simply may need more attention and care. Here’s how to make a baby stop crying if the above methods don’t work:

  • Holding: Your infant enjoys the security of being carried in your arms, and there are several positions in which you can hold your child to lessen the intensity of crying. Try holding your infant skin-to-skin against your chest while also massaging them.
  • Dancing: Your baby's need for motion and movement is satisfied by dancing. Additionally, it's a wonderful opportunity for you to spend time with your child.
  • Rocking: Gently rock or carry around an infant. It helps slow down their heart rate, thereby keeping the baby relaxed and calm.
  • Swinging: Babies quiet down when they are gently swinged, according to recent research published in the journal Current Biology, 2013. Whether they are mouse pups or human babies, infants who are carried automatically become more relaxed.
  • Swaddling: A crying baby loves to be swaddled. Swaddling gives infants a warm, womb-like feeling that induces calmness.
  • Setting the temperature right: You don't want your baby to feel too hot or too cold. Due to their tiny size and ongoing growth, babies are especially sensitive to fluctuations in room temperature and can cry. The ideal temperature for newborns is said to be between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit, or 20 and 22 degrees celsius.
  • Playing comforting sounds: Your baby loves your voice. It’s one of the ways they identify you. So, sing to your baby even if you have a bad voice. You can try some “white noise” such as sounds of a dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, fan to soothe a crying baby.


5. Overstimulation

Babies can get overstimulated when there is too much noise or activity around them. Overstimulated babies may cry or become irritable.


How to stop a baby from crying from overstimulation:

In this case, take your infant to a calm, dark, and quiet area, such as the crib or a cot. Also, you can try giving the crying baby a warm bath. It lets an overstimulated baby feel calmer, says National Health Service, UK. Make sure to use a gentle baby soap that does not contain any harsh chemicals when giving the bath, as it may further worsen the crying. You can try Equals Two Two-in-one baby wash that is dermatologically tested for infant’s safety.


Keep Cool And Welcome Help

Every baby cries, some babies may cry more. It can be challenging to determine the needs of your baby at all times. This can be hard for you, when you as a new parent need some rest too. Speak to a friend, connect with other parents who have experienced similar things, or lastly take the help of a doctor. Remember not to feel guilty when seeking assistance.


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Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How to calm a crying baby in 5 seconds?

A: You can try a quick calm inducing method called ‘the hold’ propagated by California's pediatrician, Dr. Robert Hamilton. Here are the instructions to follow:

  • First, fold the baby’s arms across the chest.
  • Secure the arms and hold the chin with one hand, while using your dominant hand to hold the baby’s bottom.
  • Then gently rock the baby at a 45-degree angle for some instant calm.


Q: When to let a baby Cry It Out (CIO)?

A: Cry It Out, also known as CIO, is a sleep training method that lets a baby cry as they learn to fall asleep on their own. When to let your baby cry it out depends on your baby and your comfort with the method. If you and your family are comfortable with CIO, you can begin to try at 4 to 6 months as babies are often developmentally ready to be sleep trained. By about 5 to 6 months, they should be ready to sleep through the night without needing to eat.


Q: How long to let baby cry it out?

A: As per Ferber’s method, developed by Richard A. Ferber, M.D, corresponding member of the faculty of neurology, at Harvard Medical School, you can let your baby cry out for 5 minutes before responding for the first time. After that, you may extend the time between responses by 5- (or fewer) minute increments. Note that very young children (below 6 months) shouldn’t be ignored if their crying is growing incessantly.


Q: Can babies die from crying too long?

A: No, babies do not die from crying too long. But there are studies that show that excessive crying can cause brain damage. As per Dr. Allan Schore of the UCLA School of Medicine, excessive crying in babies floods the baby’s brain with cortisol (stress hormone) which actually destroys nerve connections in critical portions of an infant’s developing brain.


Q: Why does my baby cry in her sleep?

A: If the baby does not have additional concerning symptoms, such as signs of illness or pain, crying in sleep is common for babies. Most babies cry due to diaper leaks, hunger and uncomfortable room temperature. Another reason for babies crying in sleep is night terrors or nightmares. These can agitate the baby causing her to cry in sleep. Picking up, and gently patting the back or stomach helps to soothe the baby.


Q: Do babies cry for no reason?

A: No, babies do not cry for no reason. While the five main reasons for infant crying include hunger, fatigue and dirty diapers, internal temperature and pain, the other chief reason for a crying baby is loneliness. Once the baby is cared for, crying often stops.







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