It’s the middle of the night and your baby won’t stop crying. You’ve tried everything to soothe him, but nothing seems to work. What else can you do?
Babies cry as a way to communicate with us and sometimes we can’t figure out why they are crying or fussy. Their cry can mean many things, but you and anyone who cares for your baby should know: it’s not personal. Here are some common reasons babies cry and suggested soothing tips.
Reasons Babies Cry
- It may be colic, acid reflux, or food allergies. Talk to your baby’s pediatrician to help figure out if this is the problem.
- It may be that they’re picking up on how you’re feeling. Babies are very in tune to the feelings of their caregivers. When we’re calm and happy, babies feel that. If we’re stressed out, they feel that too.
- This flyer explains more reasons why babies cry, and offers tips for how to soothe baby.
What You Can Do
- Put your baby down in a safe place (like a crib) and take a break if you need it. Take a few deep breaths, try to count to 10. Call a friend or relative, or the 24/7 Crying Baby Hotline at 866-243-2229. When you are in a calmer state of mind, you are better able to help your baby.
- If you feel overwhelmed, sad, depressed, or unable to care for your baby, talk to your healthcare provider, your baby’s pediatrician or a trusted family member or friend.
- Care for a fussy baby in shifts. Take turns with your partner, relative, or trusted friend.
- Swing/sway while holding baby. Create a rhythmic motion of any kind.
- Breastfeeding is not just for nutrition – the action of sucking is soothing for babies. Don’t breastfeed? Give your baby a pacifier. If you’re breastfeeding, wait until breastfeeding is well-established before introducing a pacifier.
- Create “white noise.” Run the vacuum cleaner, hair drier, fan or clothes drier. Play rain sounds or white noise (download an app or find on YouTube). Make a gentle swooshing sound in your baby’s ear while you rock or bounce him.
- Keep a bedtime routine. Families will have different routines based on their culture, lifestyle and the needs of their baby and other children. The important thing is that you try to be consistent as possible.
Dealing with a crying baby is hard! Try to develop self-care strategies and ask for help. Talk to your partner, family members, friends, and babysitters for support. And remember, take it one day at a time.
If you have concerns about how often your baby cries or how your baby sleeps, talk with your pediatrician or nurse practitioner or doula.