10 Tips to Soothe Your Crying Baby

Imagine your baby’s been fed, burped, diaper changed, and rested, yet her tears keep coming … An inconsolable baby is heartbreaking to hear, and it can create some serious hand-wringing for new parents.

Babies cry for all kinds of reasons, so whether it’s fatigue, overstimulation or colic, here are some tips for soothing your baby’s tears. 

1. Make Some Noise

The womb is a noisy space, and babies love white noise sounds like vacuum cleaners, running water, and washing machines. But instead of burning out your household appliances, pick up a white noise gadget or download an app you can use to calm your baby on the spot. And if you find yourself in the car with a wailing baby, try turning your car radio to an AM station with static—sounds crazy, but it’s been known to work!

2. The 5 S's

Dr. Harvey Karp’s method, detailed in his book The Happiest Baby on the Block, is a major go-to for new moms and dads. Dr. Karp’s tried-and-true method is built around the idea of recreating sensations from the womb: swaddling, side/stomach hold, shushing, swinging, and sucking.

The motion of the rocking chair really did soothe her. I would get frustrated, but if I rocked her it was almost like I calmed myself as well. Because, at times, you do feel like you reach your limit.
— New Mom

3. Switch Positions

Dr. Robert Hamilton came up with “The Hold” and his video on how it calms babies in a jiffy is pretty impressive—no wonder it went viral! Also, hold positions that give babies gentle hand pressure on their belly is especially soothing for stomach discomfort and colic.

4. Peace & Quiet

While white noise is effective, an environment that is bright, loud or too busy can be over-stimulating. To calm your crying baby, find a quiet, space where you can relax and use soothing techniques.

We go outside for a walk with her in the stroller. You get fresh air, the baby gets fresh air, and everyone gets soothed and kind of calms down.
— New Mom

5. The Great Outdoors

Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need to go from crying to calm. Take a walk around the block, go to the park, or just step outside; sunlight helps regulate sleep hormones and the fresh air will do you both a world of good.

6. Moving Images

Bright, contrasting colors are fascinating to babies. Bust out some colorful fabric or try a crib mobile that plays peaceful sounds and projects images. There are also apps like this one that display simple black and white images that babies find relaxing.                    

You just have to try different things until you figure it out. It may work for awhile then you have to find something else. A lot of times, a change of scenery works wonders for them. Take them outside, take them on a walk. Sometimes they just want to feel close to you, skin to skin.
— New Mom

7. Infant Massage

Who doesn’t love a relaxing massage? You can make infant massage part of your daily routine (like after bath time and before sleep), and doing gentle leg movements is really helpful for soothing gassy babies.

8. Get Moving

If your baby likes being in motion, take a drive, dance around, use a swing or infant seat that mimics your swaying motions, or plop down in a rocking chair to give you and your baby some tear-free rest.

We tried white noise—the vacuum, the hairdryer—and swaddling worked with him … but he also loved music; he loved Bruno Mars. That song ‘Just the Way You Are’ worked miracles for him … He would be crying and the minute we put it on he would just fall asleep.
— New Mom

9. Wear Your Baby

Babies love being right next to Mom’s body, and using a baby sling or carrier gives you hands-free, tear-free time to get stuff done.  

10. Pacify Her

Sucking is a natural soothing measure for babies, so if yours isn’t a thumb sucker, grab a pacifier and give it a go. At this early stage, don’t worry about creating bad habits—calm and comfort for your baby is the goal.

When it was crazy time and we were just in survival mode, I would definitely go down the list. #1, diaper change? #2, is she hungry? #3, is it colic? Just go down the list. But now she’s hit the 3-month mark and it’s so much easier. I go down the list and if it’s not one of those things, changing her scenery or environment really works.
— New Mom