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Ways to Comfort a Crying Baby

Ways to Comfort a Crying Baby

Topic Overview

Comforting techniques often will calm a crying child if the crying isn't caused by pain. These techniques may help comfort a baby with colic , because colic isn't caused by pain. But if the crying doesn't seem normal or your baby seems sick, call your doctor.

First, check to be sure your baby isn't hungry. Very young babies usually don't eat much at one sitting and may become hungry 1 to 2 hours after a feeding. Feeding your baby might stop the crying.

  • Offer a pacifier for sucking. Sucking can help babies relieve stress without crying.
  • Try rocking your baby. Gently rock your baby, or use a mechanical swing.
  • Sing quietly to your baby. You may find that singing the same song over and over is soothing. You can also try playing music at a low volume.
  • Turn on something with a rhythmic sound, such as a fan that hums, a vacuum cleaner, a clothes dryer, tape recordings of womb sounds, or a crib sound-and-motion device. A vibrating soothing device, which generates white noise and vibrates the bed, may be soothing to your child.
  • Cuddle and hold your baby close. Touching, holding, and softly talking to the baby may stop the crying. You can also try carrying the baby around (in a sling or other baby carrier) while you are doing activities so that the baby is comforted by being close to you.
  • Wrap your baby's arms and legs snugly against his or her body in a blanket (swaddling). Be sure you don't make your child too warm.
  • Give your child a warm water bath if he or she likes to take a bath.
  • Try walking or taking your child for a ride in a stroller or a car. Sometimes a walk outside can change a child's mood.
  • Change your baby's position. Hold your baby so that you put gentle pressure on the belly. Try holding your baby with his or her belly over your lower arm and his or her head at your elbow.

How to use the techniques

  • Use one technique at a time.
  • Give the technique time to work. Try it for about 1 to 2 minutes before switching to another technique.
  • If your baby continues to cry for 20 to 30 minutes, change locations and try again. Sometimes nothing works. In these cases, consider placing your baby in his or her crib for a brief period (5 minutes at a time) while you stay close by. Then repeat your attempts to comfort.
  • When you find what works, use it most of the time or use it as the first technique to comfort your child.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised February 18, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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