Need to calm your crying baby? Give these brilliantly simple techniques for calming and reassuring a crying little one a go
First things first
Before trying our tips, run through this checklist to make sure there isn’t a more obvious reason why your baby’s upset:
Are they hungry?
Do they need changing?
Are they too hot or too cold?
Do they want a cuddle?
Do they need winding?
Are they unwell?
If none of these is the problem, then it’s time to try these ideas.
1. Snug and swaddled
Many babies up to a month old feel most secure when wrapped closely, or “swaddled”, in light material. Something like a soft flannelette cot sheet is ideal as it’s not too heavy but is still snug. Keep their head uncovered and make sure they don’t get too hot.
2. Sucking to soothe
It’s thought that sucking on your breast or a bottle releases soothing chemicals in your baby’s brain, so try giving them your clean finger or a dummy.
3. Rock them to sleep
Gentle motion can have a fantastically calming effect on babies. Hold your baby close to you and sway from side to side. Or put them in the pram and gently rock it.
4. The car cure
A lot of tired parents find it less physically demanding to take their baby for a drive than to stand and rock, particularly as many newborns seem to sense when mum or dad sits down and cry until they’re standing again! The motion of the car may just do the trick instead.
5. Baby massage
Gentle massage on their back, tummy, arms and legs is thought to aid digestion as well as induce sleep. It’s best to go to a baby massage class to learn how to do this properly. It’s also a nice way to bond with your baby now and throughout their first years.
6. Food check
If you’re breastfeeding, substances in your food and drink, especially caffeine, may cause restlessness in your baby. If you think this might be the case, keep a food and drink diary.
7. Calming comforter
Some babies just like holding something familiar or an item that smells of you, so give them a muslin, a soft toy or a piece of your clothing to hold for comfort.
8. Background music
Gentle music or sounds that remind your baby of being in the womb can be a great pacifier, especially if they’re overstimulated.
9. Bathe the blues away
Some newborns take to water straightaway, so a calming bath in a quiet environment with no bright lights is a favourite soother.
10. Shut out the world
Check there isn’t something in the room that’s keeping them awake. Simply holding them against you while sitting in a dark, quiet room can ease their cries, and the sound of your calm breathing should send them off (until their next feed, that is!).