Every parent knows this story. It’s the middle of the night, your baby is crying, and you don’t know why. You try everything you can think, but you feel exhausted and at the end of your rope.
Most parents will tell you that in that moment, they felt completely alone.
But it’s important to know that you are not alone in that moment and that there are ways you can cope with your feelings of frustration. The first step is to calm yourself. When you feel less overwhelmed, you’ll be better equipped to solve the problem of calming your crying baby.
Tips to Calm Yourself
Make sure your baby is in a safe place, like their crib or playpen — but no stuffed animals or blankets while they’re in there alone — let them cry alone for 10 to 15 minutes. It’s OK to step away. It’s OK for you to take a breath. In fact, taking a deep breath and counting to 10 is a good calming technique.
Some other things you can do while your baby is in a safe spot:
- Play a favorite song that will lift your mood
- Call a friend or family member for a quick, supportive chat
- Burn off some energy with a household chore, like washing some dishes or carrying out the trash
Check on your baby after 10 or 15 minutes, but don’t pick up your baby until you feel calm again. Once you do feel calmer, go ahead and pick up your baby.
Tips to Calm Your Baby
Some common reasons babies cry include:
- Being hungry. Is your baby smacking their lips or moving fists to their mouth?
- Being cold or hot. Is your baby dressed in appropriate layers of clothing for the temperature?
- Needing a diaper change. Have you checked recently?
- Having gastric reflux. Is your baby fussy after eating, or do they spit up or vomit a lot? You may need to chat with your pediatrician.
- Being sick. Does your baby have a temperature?
- Being overstimulated.
- Being bored.
Some things you can try to calm your baby include:
- Swaddling your baby
- Holding your baby and gently rubbing their back
- Using white noise
- Taking your baby for a walk or rocking your baby
- Giving your baby a pacifier
If your baby is still crying once you feel calmer, try calling your pediatrician and talking through a possible medical reason for the crying.
If crying is an ongoing problem, try keeping a journal and writing down when your baby sleeps, eats, wakes up, and when your baby cries. That might help pinpoint a cause that you can discuss with your doctor.
More About Crying Babies
A good website to look at for more information about why babies cry and what you can do is www.healthychildren.org, created by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
About the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund
It’s part of the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund’s mission to provide parents with the help they need to make parenting easier. We understand that parenting is challenging for everyone, and we want parents of all types to have the support that makes their families stronger and helps their children have happy, healthy, and safe lives.