Tips & advice on pregnancy, parenting, child care and development.
A baby's cry is her first and primary tool to communicate her needs. She is wired to use it when she has a need or is uncomfortable. For the first few months of life, parents are trying to figure out the mystery of the cry -- what does it mean, and what will make it stop?
21 things to try:
Feed your baby
Wrap her snuggly like a burrito (leaving her face uncovered)
Talk soothingly to her
Play music for her
Change her position
Change her diaper
Check to see if she is too warm or cool
Put her down
Put her to bed/sleep
Offer her a toy (for babies three months and over)
Take her outside
Take her away from an overstimulating environment (for some babies, this can be lots of people or noise)
Get comfortable holding her (some people like to hold a baby laying on her back along their thighs with her head at their knees, so they can make good eye contact)
Put her down where you can stay close and still touch her
Calm yourself and relax your breathing (remember, she can't cry forever)
Think about how you might want people to respond when you are crying (do you like being jiggled, bounced or plugged up when you are crying?)
Make eye contact
Use your voice to let her know you are present and that you will stay with her while she cries
Depending on what your baby's day has been like, you can make some guesses about which one of these options to try first.Take stock of the responses slowly and gently, telling your baby each time what you are going to try next. Once you have run through the list of obvious things, you may figure out that there's some crying you can't "fix." Sometimes, just relaxing and not trying to do anything can calm things down. Remember that even if she continues crying, she is experiencing your presence and your support.
Many of us have defined successful parenthood as "having a happy baby." When our baby begins to feel her full range of emotions, it may challenge our definition of ourselves as good parents. It is natural for parents to want to stop a baby's crying, however, if stopping the crying becomes the central focus, both baby and parent may miss some important opportunities for learning about communication, feelings and themselves.