10 Ways to Calm a Crying Baby

10 Ways to Calm a Crying Baby – I know what you’re thinking… I’m still pregnant, how can I be writing a post on how to calm a crying baby when Baby Itz is in my belly? Am I right, or am I right? Itz ok. I debated whether or not to write this post now, or wait until I have some real life experience. I decided I’d do both. Plus, we learned these ten ways in our baby class last night, and I thought blogging about it would be a good way for me to remember them. I’ve listed them in a pinnable graphic and will explain down below:

10 ways to calm a crying baby

10 Ways to Calm a Crying Baby

  1. swaddle baby – babies are wrapped up tightly in the womb, so swaddling emulates their familiar womb experience
  2. lay baby on side or stomach position – (in your arms! don’t leave baby unattended on his/her side or stomach!) changing baby’s position can be good
  3. make shushing sounds to baby – again, this imitates the sounds they heard in the womb and can be soothing
  4. have baby suck on something – sucking triggers the calming reflex
  5. gently swing baby – gentle movements can be relaxing for baby; rocking, walking, and car rides are other possibilities
  6. change baby’s diaper – make sure baby is clean and dry
  7. nurse or feed baby – babies go through growth spurts and sometimes require cluster  (more frequent) feedings
  8. burp or bicycle baby’s legs – if baby has air in his/her belly, burping or bicycling baby’s legs could help relieve gas
  9. feel baby’s chest and back for temperature – see if baby is too hot or cold by feeling his/her chest or back (often times, baby’s hands or feet are cooler)
  10. inspect all parts of baby – lay baby down, take off clothes, and inspect baby; an article of clothing may be too tight, a loose string may have gotten wrapped around a part, or something else may be bothering baby

Our wonderful nurse in the baby class suggests reading or watching The Happiest Baby by Dr. Harvey Karp. The first five tips are his “5 S’s System.”  Like I said before, these ten tips are what we learned in our baby class. Once Baby Itz is here will be the true test. For now, we’ll let him keep calm in my belly!

beach maternity photo

What works/worked especially well for you? What tips would you add to this list?

22 thoughts on “10 Ways to Calm a Crying Baby

  1. My pediatrician told us about the 5 S’s at our first visit! So far she likes the stomach position and the swaddling the best! We also got a few of the newborn size binks for when she is crying in the middle of the night but had already been nursed! It definitely helps her fall back asleep after a few minutes!

  2. Running water or vent fan on microwave, they are loud and distracting. Also, pass a crying baby off if possible and you’re feeling stressed. I’ve now had two colicky babies and it’s hard on my nerves but never bothered justin so anytime Cora would cry for longer than 30 minutes I’d give her to him, especially at night!

  3. I loved Happiest Baby on the Block, worked really well for us and Fischer. We found what worked best was swaddle, turn on the hair dryer, and bounce on an exercise ball! The hairdryer would calm him down in seconds so sometimes we went straight to that if we couldn’t swaddle in time. He ended up only ever sleeping on his side (well, until he could roll over and we un-swaddled, he’s been on his tummy ever since), found his thumb at 5 weeks and uses it to self-soothe. He’s 7 months now but still loves it when I shhhh in his ear. (thankfully we dont’ need the hairdryer/swaddle/bouncy ball anymore!)

  4. Both my kids were different in what calmed them/didn’t calm them. My daughter always liked me stroking her forehead and to this day, I do that when she’s upset! My biggest tip is to do your best to stay calm even when the situation becomes chaotic (and it will!). Babies can pick up on our moods like you wouldn’t believe.

  5. Fresh air or a change of scenery can work wonders for a fussy baby. Also a dark room with some white noise and mama snuggles almost always sooth an over stimulated baby.

  6. The 5 S’s were a gem! Also, my mom taught me a trick of putting a heating pad in the crib while you’re feeding the baby during late night feeds. Take the heating pad out a couple minutes before you put baby back, and the sheets will be all warm and snuggly. Nothing zaps baby out of a post-feeding coma like a cold sheet on the backside!

  7. The 5 S’s are where it’s at!! They worked for our now 6.5 MO girl. I am a HUGE proponent of the swaddle, swing and the shush with a simultaneous tapping on the butt. It works!! Love that book, by the way!

  8. Hello dear! Now granted, I’m a little rusty– (Kenzer will be 11 in June)– BUT, I definitely remember that when she was fussy, I would swaddle her, hold her close to my chest, and make shushing sounds like I walked/gently bounced her around the room. It worked like a charm. So rest assured– you are definitely on to something! Even if Baby Itz hasn’t arrived just yet. 🙂

  9. These are great! I also watched a video that explained the difference between babies cries- ah, can’t remember the name, but it showed different cries mean different things. Like when the baby has an “O” shaped mouth and he cries, he’s hungry, a different one for when their uncomfortable. It was very helpful. My first son had several birth defects and probably was having seizures that we did not know about- so he cried, pretty much non-stop for the first nine months. So I would add, if these items don’t stop the baby from crying, it’s ok to seek the help of a doctor. My best advise is-“Trust your instincts” and “what works for one baby doesn’t always work for every baby” I had every grandma and mother trying to tell me what to do when my son wouldn’t stop crying. I started to feel completely inadequate and like a failure as a mother. What I needed to do was trust myself- there was something wrong with his health, and I all of the advise lead me to believe it was something I was doing wrong.

  10. Yep, we definitely took the same baby class, but I thought this was probably the most helpful thing. What I took away from it was that sometimes you need to change whatever you’re doing. If he’s swaddled, then unswaddle. If he’s laying down, walk around or rock him. After reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, it seems like nursing for comfort or feeding also seems to be the first thing to try (especially at night)

  11. Time! My son had colic so none of these tricks worked most of the time. It SUCKED. But now that I’m on the other side I just need to remember that in time, all babies grow out of the fussy phase! Still, I’m hoping baby girl is a little happier than her brother was in the beginning!

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