Dealing with a crying baby? If only you spoke their interesting language. Here are some tips from real moms on how to calm a crying baby.
You may have already noticed this, but having a crying baby is normal.
Imagine being trapped in a wordless world where crying was your only mode of self-expression.
Well, that’s pretty much where you’re little one is at.
As a result, the language of cries is a complex one.
And in all of this, there’s you: trying to do the detective work.
Mamahood is a pretty weird thing.
This tiny being bursts into the world, complete with their own set of needs, desires, and emotions, and there you are in the middle, doing your best to navigate all of that.
But how are you just supposed to know what to do if a baby is crying for no reason?
Where were the classes at school that taught you how to make a baby stop crying?
Urgh. It’s all so frustrating.
If only your little one could just tell you what’s wrong so that you could fix it for them.
The funny thing is, they’re trying to. In their very weird way.
Your job (yes, on top of everything else) is to try and translate from “crying baby” into your language.
We’re going to help you with that.
In this article: 📝
- Why is my baby crying?
- How do you get a baby to stop crying?
- What to do when your baby won’t stop crying
Why is my baby crying?
The sound of your crying baby can be seriously unsettling.
What does it mean when a baby is constantly crying?
All you want is for them to feel loved and nurtured and comforted, and the cries seem to be telling you that this is not exactly the case.
Take a deep breath, mama.
You’ve got this.
And now let’s try and get to the bottom of what that crying baby is trying to tell you.
Firstly, let’s break down the most common reasons babies cry.
Knowing the why will help you figure out the what next.
What are the 3 types of baby cries?
In their rather histrionic way, there are three main types of baby cries:
You know the feeling.
You haven’t eaten in a while and suddenly it all feels rather apocalyptic?
Your crying baby might be feeling the same way.
Newborns love to eat—and they’ll generally be quite vocal about when they’re ready for their next snack.
While all babies are different, an “I’m hungry” cry might sound low-pitched.
It also thankfully stops when your baby is presented with a yummy bit of newborn nosh.
Getting into some sort of semblance of a sleep schedule can help with this—knowing of course that perfection is a pipe dream.
You know that newborn high-pitched cry that sends shock waves through every part of your body?
That may be a colicky cry.
Although it can be incredibly distressing, colic is more common than you might think.
Up to 1 in 4 babies have it.
If your baby cries for over three hours at a time and does so more than three times a week, they might have colic.
You’ll be happy to know that colic has a time limit.
What are other reasons why baby’s crying?
But many of our Peanut mamas believe that types of baby cries go beyond the ‘big three’.
Although the crying baby has existed for millennia, the jury is still out on specific causes of this drama.
Some possibilities are indigestion, milk intolerance, or simply that they are having trouble adjusting to the outside world.
Here are the other possibilities:
Yes, you are essentially a baby servant and they are telling you to clean their poop and pee—or else.
There’s too much going on!
If your little one is overstimulated, that overwhelm can quickly turn to tears.
From the safety of your uterus, they were thrown without warning into the chaos of the outside world.
It’s no wonder it can sometimes feel a little too much.
If you are in a noisy place, have had a long day, or have had loads of visitors, your crying baby might be telling you that enough is enough.
Exit the extravaganza.
Silence the stimulants.
Delete the distractions.
The temperature inside your belly is regular.
The temperature on the outside? Not so much.
How do you get a baby to stop crying?
Honestly, calming a crying baby is often easier said than done, and totally individual to each specific situation.
What works for one crying baby might not work for another.
Ultimately, this is a process of trial and error.
Here is our rough (very adaptable) guide.
- Step 1: Check for any worrying symptoms. Does your baby have a temperature? Vomiting? Diarrhea? Trouble breathing? Not feeding? If so, check in with your healthcare provider as soon as you can to rule out any health issues. If your baby is otherwise healthy, move to step 2.
- Step 2: Rule out the basics: hunger, sleepiness, diaper drama?
- Step 3: Is there a belch coming on? Gently burp your baby. Here’s how.
- Step 4: Time to turn up the soothe-o-meter. Cradle them. Sing to them. Rock them. Pat them gently.
- Step 5: Go for a walk or drive. Get your baby moving. You’ll find which one works best for you.
- Step 6: Pamper them. Warm baths. Soothing music. Think spa day.
What to do when your baby won’t stop crying
Now for some tips on how to stop baby crying from the moms of Peanut ‒ these are tried-and-true, so they’re worth a shot!
- “I found the best thing to help my little bub is to rock her or jump on an exercise ball and bounce with her.” ‒ Indi
- “The best thing that works for my little baby girl is holding her and walking and patting her nappy.” ‒ Elaine
- “Change of scenery! When my son was only a couple of months old all we had to do was go look out the back door or go out on the porch and everything was fine.” ‒ Lydia
- “My 2-year-old has always calmed down by a cuddle and distraction. He’s always calmed with a cuddle and when he starts to struggle, give him a distraction, whether it’s talking about something, changing scenery, or giving him his favorite toys. When he was a baby going outside would calm him down without a doubt.” ‒ Chloë
- “Going on a walk outside or bath time. When my oldest was a newborn, she would scream all night long. Sometimes I had to take my shirt and bra completely off and do skin to skin to calm her.” ‒ Kirsten
- “Singing constantly with unbroken eye contact!” ‒ Sophie
- “Not trying to make baby stop is the best approach. Babies need to cry as a way to relieve stress.” ‒ Veronique
- “Tour of the house! Patting the wall or touching curtains.” ‒ Natalie
- “Passing baby to someone else. Babies can feel your increasing heartbeat, your frustration, and your annoyance. Baby cries more when they are being held by the mama who is seemingly getting frustrated.” ‒ Kellie
- “Walk it out while babywearing. Stroller rides with bumpy sidewalks. Baby massages and leg exercises to get their little toots out! Also, I have zero regrets of using noise-canceling headphones to either listen to a podcast or just reduce the shrill of the crying.” ‒ Kayce
- “If baby isn’t hungry and their diaper is clean, then swaddling and a binky calms him or swaddling and holding him.” ‒ Lucy
- “Hold her tummy to tummy with you if it is. The heat from you will help calm her down.” ‒ Anna
- “I have been doing bicycle legs and bringing his legs to his tummy which only helps occasionally, been using Infacol for a couple of weeks which helps with his burping but he still has bouts of angry crying during the week.” ‒ Tori
Finally, being a new mama can be an isolating experience.
So much is new and confusing—and you’re navigating it all through sleep deprivation, hormone fluctuations, and postpartum recovery.
Practicing self-care may sound like a bit of a fantasy right now but, seriously, mama, do what you can.
This may be as simple as having a phone chat with your friend, eating a delicious meal, or taking a few moments to do a breathing exercise.
A crying mom is just as important as a crying baby—and should be given suitable care.
And if you want any more tips on how to calm a crying baby, feel free to ask our Peanut community of moms ‒ you’re not alone in this, mama.