10 unexpected ways to soothe a crying baby
What to do when your baby cries for no apparent reason.
You’ve fed, changed, burped, cuddled, swaddled. You’re pretty sure your baby isn’t too hot or too cold, under stimulated or overstimulated. They’re not sick, uncomfortable or teething. But they refuse to stop crying. What do you do?
1. Give your baby something to suck on
Sucking helps to steady your baby’s heart rate, relax their stomach and calm flailing limbs. Give your baby a pacifier or let them suck on your finger. A teething ring is also a good option since it’s not always possible to tell when your baby is teething.
2. Music is good for the soul
Put some of your favourite music on and dance around the living room or sing your baby a lullaby. Experiment with different types of music to see what your baby likes.
3. Put on some white noise
Switch on the vacuum cleaner, dryer or washing machine. It may not sound soothing to you but babies are calmed by the steady ‘white noise’ that blocks out all the other noises they hear.
4. Get some fresh air
Sometimes just stepping out onto the balcony stops the crying. Sometimes it takes a walk around the block. Getting out of the home and looking at the world outside will be good for both your baby and you.
5. Give your baby a bath
Warm water is very soothing and you can up the calm factor by adding a few drops of lavender oil to the bath. The sound of running water could also help your baby relax.
6. Change the way you’re holding your baby
Holding your baby on their side or stomach is particularly helpful because they were in that position in the womb.
7. Make skin-to-skin contact
Hold your baby against your body with chests and bellies touching. This calms your baby down and enhances the bond the two of you share.
8. Bounce, swing, rock or jiggle
Any fast rhythmic movement is likely to soothe your little screamer. The more agitated they are, the more vigorous your movements should be.
9. A massage can work wonders
Babies love to be touched so a massage can be a great relaxing ritual for both of you. Especially if it comes after a warm bath. Use long, gentle strokes and try different lotions or special baby massage oils.
10. Give up and walk away
If your baby cries inconsolably despite your best efforts, put them in a safe place, like their crib, and walk away for 5–10 minutes. Give yourself a break, have a snack or take deep breaths. Sometimes stepping away helps to break the cycle and your baby will cry for a bit longer before falling asleep on their own. And if that doesn’t work, a short break will leave you refreshed and ready to try something else.