what is colic

How to soothe a crying baby

Soothing a crying baby can be a challenging experience. There are many reasons why babies cry but with the right comforting techniques, you’ll have a happy baby in no time.


Why do babies cry?

It’s perfectly normal for babies to cry, and they do so for a number of reasons. A crying baby can be frustrating, especially when the crying is persistent. It can be difficult to understand why your baby is agitated but here are the most common reasons why your infant is upset.

  • Hunger – A hungry baby isn’t a happy baby as their cries will tell you. A newborn becomes hungry quickly as their stomachs are so small. Try to look out for signs of hunger before your little one starts to cry. You may notice symptoms, such as putting hands to their mouth, smacking their lips or fussing.
  • Tiredness – A tired baby doesn’t always nod off. In fact, many babies struggle to go to sleep. If your little one becomes overtired, they may have a tendency to become very cranky. Overstimulation may exhaust a newborn so try to create a calming atmosphere before you put them down.
  • A dirty nappy – Some babies cry as soon as they dirty their nappy, letting you know that they need changing.
  • Attention – Babies often cry when they want to be held. Your little one requires a lot of reassurance and cuddling as they enjoy being soothed by your scent or voice.
  • Feeling unwell – If your baby is crying a lot, he or she may be feeling unwell. This could be an upset tummy, colic or gas. Even mild gas can cause uncomfortable feelings. However, it’s also possible that your little one is suffering from constipation, reflux or intolerance to milk. If you’re worried, contact your GP for advice.
  • Feeling too hot or cold – Babies enjoy being warm but not too hot and they generally require an extra layer of clothing than you. Try to keep their room at 18 degrees Celsius so they don’t overheat or become too chilly.


crying baby colic


Ways to soothe your crying baby

To help soothe your baby, why not try some of the following methods and see what comforts your baby the best, you may also find them relaxing too. It is important to remember that everyone is different and babies respond to different methods. It may be a case of trial and error, what doesn’t work well one day may be effective the next. The key is to persevere.

  • Try rocking your baby gently, holding her close so that she can feel your warmth or alternatively place her in a bouncing seat that will provide gentle movement. If your baby is young enough, try a sling to give your arms a rest. Many babies enjoy being close to their mothers, hearing their voice and seeing their face.
  • Let her suck on your finger – this may help to comfort and also distract your baby.
  • Take her out for a walk in a pram or sling or alternatively, a drive in the car – the rhythm of the engine may help to soothe your baby.
  • Take time to wind your baby thoroughly by placing her on your shoulder and gently patting or rubbing her back. This will help to relive any uncomfortable feelings of trapped gas.
  • Turn on the television, vacuum cleaner or tumble dryer – it may sound odd but the noise from such appliances can help to soothe and calm your baby.
  • Try baby massage – you may both find it relaxing. Baby massage has been practised for generations in many different countries. Skin contact makes babies feel safe and secure, and it is a simple way of showing affection. Massage has been found to help bonding and interaction between the parent and baby.
  • Play soft music – sometimes the bright lights and sound of a television can be overwhelming so try playing soothing sounds of a nursery rhyme or song to keep your baby calm.
  • Sing or talk to your baby – your baby finds your voice soothing so try singing or talking gently to her.
  • Try being quiet – babies can easily become over stimulated and stressed, so try putting your baby in a calm, quiet area before she goes to sleep to give her some much needed time out.
  • Give a warm bath – a relaxing bath may be just the thing baby needs. Remember to check the temperature beforehand so it’s not too hot or cold. If you don’t have a thermometer, use your elbow to test the water.

It is normal for babies to cry so don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t soothe them. You may feel stressed that your baby is crying but they will not be harming themselves and it


Did you know? The main problem caused by colic is the stress and worry it causes parents.