When my daughter was a baby, it took everyone in the house to get her to sleep at night. We took shifts. Starting with me. I tried everything, really, I did. I think the way she saw it was that these “other people” were just there as pinch hitters and the real deal would soon return. At least that is how it played out every night, night after night, for two years.
By the second year, we had moved to a new state and, a smaller home. No uncle, no aunt, no nanny. What had we done! After a while, my daughter did stop crying, and she did sleep through the night. The thing is now, I would not take anything for those nights and days I spent “walking the green mile” with her. She is now 16, and I am her best friend. She still comes to talk to me late at night when she cannot sleep.
# 1 Have a sense of humor.
We should learn to laugh at these days, even when we are in them. Most times when the baby is crying it is not that serious. We just don’t know why the baby is crying and we feel helpless. We are tired out, sometimes we feel very alone in our endeavors, and we feel we have run out of answers. Take heart. Laugh. Smile. Your baby knows when you are stressed out, and whether you know it or not, you are making it worse.
#2 Change that dirty diaper!
The first true action you want to take when your baby is crying, day or night is to check the nappy. Baby does not like to feel uncomfortable any more than you do. Even if you have the most absorbent diapers in the world, if it has poo in it, change it. Sometimes even if it feels dry, it is not. So just change it, and always wipe baby’s bottom with a baby wipe and use a dusting of cornstarch-based powder to keep baby cool, dry, and diaper rash free.
- Read: The Importance of Diaper Changing
- Watch and Learn: How to change a diaper in a newborn.
Newborn infants need feeding every 2-4 hours, even more often if they are breastfed.
Be proactive about feeding when your baby is still a newborn. Baby is most likely not going to just sleep through it. If you are nursing it is a bit easier (a good reason to nurse) because baby’s “bottle” is warm and ready to go. However, if your baby is bottle fed, get up a few minutes before baby’s usual time and warm the bottle. Have it ready. Babies get distressed while waiting for us to become organized, and this makes them cry even more.
- Read: Tips for Breast and Bottle Feeding Baby
- Read: Should I Wake Baby to Nurse?
- Watch and Learn: Beware the dangers of sleeping with a baby.
#4 Inspect Baby’s Gums
There may be a tooth coming in!
Sometimes we don’t realize the baby is teething. One of the ways we can tell is if the baby is sucking on the fist or “gumming” the nipple. If during the day and you are with baby, you can give the baby a cooled teething ring. If it is at night, there are gum ointments that do help, and there are some homeopathic remedies too.
- Read: 6 Natural Teething Remedies for Baby
- Watch and Learn: How to tell if the baby is teething.
#5 Pick baby up!
If you have changed and fed baby and baby is still crying, the baby may want to be held. Babies, infants especially can become uncomfortable lying about in a crib in one position. I remember when my daughter was an infant. Even as a newborn she was very long, and I am a tiny person. Holding her would kill my arms! I resolved that by carrying her front papoose style. I could read, I could make the bed, etc. Don’t cook or vacuum while carrying a baby!
- Read and Learn: How Baby’s Crib Mattress Might Be Keeping YOU Up at Night.
- Watch and Learn: Why touch is important to you and your baby.
#6 Show your face to baby!
Newborn babies are fascinated by their mother’s faces; more importantly, it is key to their social development to see faces, especially their mother’s. Mommy cannot be everywhere, so that is the reason they made baby mobiles! I have heard, but never tried it, that putting photos of mommy in tiny frames and attaching to a mobile really helps baby will stare at mommy’s faces for hours!
- Read: The Social World of Newborns
- Watch and Learn: Babies Can Distinguish Faces from other Shapes!
#7 Express yourself!
Have fun with baby. Babies recognize when mommy is sad, happy, or angry without her ever saying a word! I know anyone looking in through my kitchen window when my daughter was an infant sitting in her carrier on the counter while I did dishes must have thought I was crazy to the max! I made up operas about doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, or even while I stood enjoying a cup of coffee with free hands and no fear of giving her 3rd-degree burns.
To this day, my daughter and I makeup operas and choreograph dances together while doing chores. She even asks me to “mug” for her snap chats with her friends.
- Read and Learn: How to be Fun, Silly, and Playful with Baby!
- Watch and Learn: Still, Face Experiment: See Baby’s Reaction
#8 Interact with baby!
Baby will cry when ignored. No matter how busy we get, it is important we interact with the baby.
Babies love eye contact, to mimic our facial expressions and to hear our voices. I was attempting to begin my doctoral program when my daughter was an infant. I would read research papers to her using silly voices. The tone of my voice was the exact same as when I would read her (to this day) favorite rhyme “The Three Little Kittens.”
- Read: Parents Interacting with Infants
- Watch and Learn: Tips on Interacting with Newborn
#9 Sing to baby
Lullabies work. They are the age-old remedy for soothing baby and getting crying under control. Even if you do not have the best singing voice, it is your voice. Just keep the timbre low, soft, and rhythmic. That is the key to all the popular lullabies. If you don’t know any, learn some, and if you forget the words, humor make something up! They could save your life! When you cannot sing to the baby, play lullabies for baby.
- Read and Sing Along: Learn the Most Popular Lullabies, With Lyrics and Soundbites!
Watch and Listen/Play for Baby: Twelve, Count Them, Twelve Hours of Lullabies!
(Disclaimer: No baby should ever be left alone or expected to be alone for more than an hour, this is more so you don’t lose your mind hearing the same song, over and over and over….).
#10 Let I entertain you!
After you have spent a day wowing baby with ever opera and Broadway show tune you know, turn to good old audio and visual technology.
There is no end to the number of products on the market today to stimulate baby’s mind. Yes, babies get bored. When they do not feel stimulated (entertained) they will cry! Whether it is day or night, if you have done everything you know to do, and just can’t think of one more thing… look at the list of videos, crib toys, and sound machines that will entertain your baby, soothe his crying, and get baby mentally tired so that bedtime will not be such a chore!
- Read: Could Your Baby Be Bored?
- Read/Buy: What To Look For In The Best Doorway Jumper For Baby
- Watch: Your Baby Will Be Fascinated by This!
#11 Hold baby close to your body
Touch is essential to the bonding process, and bonding is essential to your child growing up able to form healthy attachments to others. The warmth of your body, your familiar smell, even the sound of your breathing is all very comforting to your baby. While holding the baby, breathe rhythmically, steadily, and baby will intuitively try to match your breathing. Try it!
- Read: Attachment Theory
- Watch to learn: How Babies Breathes When Sleeping
#12 Talk to me, Baby won’t you talk to me?
Babies love the sound of your voice, mommy. He or she spent the better part of nine months listening to you talk to him, about him. Baby heard you telling him how much you love him/her, and how you just could not wait to meet him/her. The baby also heard and can recognize dad’s voice. In fact, anyone who was a great deal and “bonded” while the baby was in the cocoon is in baby’s little voice playlist.
- Read: What Babies Learn in the Womb
- Watch to learn: Just what can baby hear while in the womb?
#13 Give Baby a Soft Doll
While small infants do not have adequate motor control to hold their soft toys, they can reach out to them. Offering a soft toy with a face will soothe baby. Studies from the old research I remember from my graduate and undergraduate years showed how even baby monkeys preferred a cloth doll to a wire doll – even if the wire doll had food!
- Read and Shop: Safe and Soft Toys for Newborns, Babies, and Toddlers
- Watch and Learn: Harlow’s Wire vs. Cloth Monkey Mother
#14 Rub Baby’s Tummy
Sometimes babies cry because they have a tummy ache, or are colicky. This is often due to gas pains. If the baby’s tummy is hard and distended, this might be the reason for it. I remember breaking up with a boyfriend once because he thought if you love someone you should be able to fart in front of them. I told him he needed a change of diet or a change of girlfriend. You cannot break up with your baby, but you can learn how to break up the gas. Typically, gas is caused by normal actions like sucking in air around the bottle or pacifier.
- Read: What is colic? How to treat it.
- Read: Mommy Knows Best: The Best Baby Bottle for Colic and Gas
- Watch and Learn: How to relieve gas pain in infants and children instantly!
#15 It is all Routine!
Babies respond best to a routine. We all know what it is like to have our day disrupted. When I miss a workout, I become very agitated, and guess what? I don’t sleep as well. When I don’t sleep well, no one likes it. It is the same with babies. When babies don’t sleep well, they cry, and nobody likes it. When my daughter was small, because of all the trouble we had getting her to sleep, if someone wanted to just pop over, they stood the risk of getting popped.
- Read: Why is Routine Important for Babies?
- Watch and Learn: Newborn to Three Month Schedule
#16 Control the Noise Levels
Is it true that if you keep a silent house, your baby is going to expect a silent house? That is what my mom and (much) older sisters always told me. Well, there is a new sheriff in town, and she says that babies are hardwired for how much noise they can take. Now I wish I had not spent my mornings deliberately banging pots and pans. My daughter could sleep through a tornado, and by the look of her room, she has. Several times.
- Read: Can you teach a baby to sleep through the noise?
- Listen and Sleep: There is nothing wrong with a little (white) noise.
#17 Check baby’s arms and legs!
Sometimes baby’s legs or arms get trapped beneath them. Having a limb fall asleep can be painful, especially to a baby. Baby’s need to be repositioned while they sleep to keep up their flow of circulation. NOTE: Newborns – One Year should not sleep on the stomach or side!
- Read: Blood Circulation in Fetus and Newborn
- Read: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
- Watch: Indian Massage Techniques to Relax Baby, Improve Digestion, and Increase Circulation
#18 Become the Baby Whisperer
Have you ever noticed that when someone you love is upset, that your voice may raise or become agitated too? It really does not help the situation. At all. If you really want the baby to stop crying, then you need to moderate your tone a bit. Whisper consoling words for baby, your tone will soothe baby, and may just convince you that everything is going to be all right. If you find you are at a loss for words, recite poetry, whisper sing a song, sing a commercial jingle. The sound of our voice, cool, calm, and collected will help ease baby’s anxiety.
- Read and Calm Down: Babies Sense When Moms are Stressed Out
- Watch and Be Amazed: Baby Whisperer Shares Secret to Calming Crying Baby
#19 Cry, Baby, Cry
This is my least favorite. We have all heard we should just let baby’s cry it out and scoffed, well now they are saying “it is so, Joe!” We have also heard that it messes with an infant’s ability to develop trust in others and other negative consequences. I can see it both ways. I think it is bad to run the minute baby starts to cry, but if the crying lasts more than a minute (this is my personal belief) then go check on the baby and try some of these soothing strategies. There is some merit to both philosophies, but you and only you know your baby and what your limits are with listening to him or her cry.
- Read and Consider: It’s Okay to Let Your Baby Cry Himself to Sleep
vs. Dangers of Crying it Out
- For those willing to try it Watch: Sleep Training: Cry it Out?
#20 Check for signs of the inner ear infection
With babies 6 mons. + and toddlers it is easy to tell when they have ear pain. Aside from the crying, they will tug or rub at their ears. Typically, with an inner ear infection, infants will cry, and this may be the time nothing you do can console your baby. In this situation, the number one priority is not getting baby to stop crying. Ear infections in children are dangerous and a leading cause of deafness. This is more likely to occur in infants and babies because they cannot communicate the source of their pain. NOTE: When the baby cries, and nothing works- SEE, don’t just call your pediatrician.
- Read: Ear Infection and Hearing Loss
- Watch and Learn: How to identify when baby has an ear infection.
#21 Check baby’s clothing
If you are old school and believe in the power of the cloth diaper, well… more power to you, they can be better for baby’s bottom. However, be careful that pins are fully clasped. While cloth diapers may be less expensive than disposables, do not scrimp on the pins. They need to have comfy heads, that are softer, and you need to be sure they are strong. Also, trying to pin a diaper that is folded too small on a baby almost guarantees that pin is going to pop. I tried cloth diapers for my daughter for about a month. I lay awake all night every night worried she was going to get stuck with a diaper pin. After careful review of diaper pins on Amazon.com, I could not find one with more than 4.5 stars.
Another thing that kept me up at night; snaps and zippers. No. I am not talking about what was going on in my bedroom. I am talking about the closures on my little baby’s clothing. Never, ever buy pajamas or any article of clothing for a baby with a zipper that does not have a cloth closure. Be sure when you snap baby’s pants legs together, you are not grabbing hold of baby’s skin.
- Read and Decide: Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable
- Shop: What are the Best Overnight Diapers for Heavy Wetters on the Market today? – Find Out Here
- Watch and Learn: Baby’s Pajamas a Progression
#22 Check baby’s breathing
Okay, this is a no-brainer, right? I mean we moms, and yes, dads too, cannot ever be too happy baby is not crying. So, we run in to check baby’s breathing. Sometimes, it is how the baby is breathing that interferes with sleep. Babies can have sleep apnea or a respiratory illness. If your baby scores or breath sounds come out raspy, there could be a medical condition.
- Read: Infant Sleep Apnea
- Read: Respiratory Syncytial Virus in Babies
- Watch and Practice: How to check infant’s airway for obstructions
#23 Reassure Baby there is No Boogey-Man!
Even babies have nightmares. Baby cannot tell you what is going on, it is more than likely overactive brainwave activity, but that is what dreams are. There are a few things you can do. First, you don’t want to wait and see if the dream wakes the baby. You have not heard crying until you here that of a baby who has awakened from what I call baby-mares. Try putting baby on the behind and coming. If that does not work, and baby wakes, at least you know the reason and you can use all the basic techniques you are learning in this list to calm the baby down.
- Read and Learn: Baby’s First Dreams
- Watch and Learn: How to calm a baby waking from a nightmare
#24 Keep a log of babies sleep cycle and hours
Okay, you know how miserable you are when you cannot sleep. You have your rituals, you drink some warm milk, you watch a little late night TV, read a boring book, you count sheep, you curse in your head. When nothing works, there is nothing that will work. Babies can suffer from insomnia too! The worst part is, they cannot tell you they cannot sleep, they just cry. It rarely occurs to parents their baby is an insomniac.
- Read: Infant Insomnia
- Read and Shop: Best books to put the baby to sleep.
- Watch and Learn: How to prevent sleep deprivation in your baby (and maybe yourself too!)
#25 Give baby a soothing lavender bath
Sometimes babies cry because they just cannot wind down after a long hard day playing peek-a-boo. You know your favorite bedtime bath scent? Lavender. There is a baby version of that stuff, and it works! Homeopathic practitioners have long extolled the miracle of lavender, well now science backs up those claims. To preempt the nighttime crying jag (both yours and baby’s), give the baby a warm/tepid bath in a lavender scented baby bath. In fact, bathe yourself in lavender, and see if that does not also have a calming effect on the baby.
- Relax and Read: Can Lavender Help You (and baby) Get to Sleep?
- Read: Other bath aids and essential oils that can soothe baby
- Watch and Learn: How to bathe your newborn baby.
#26 Let there be light!
It is not an old wives’ tale. Babies do get their days and nights confused. When this happens and bedtime rolls around for the rest (no pun intended) of the household, baby cries. Unless you are keeping your baby in a pitch-dark room during the day, he or she has learned to sleep in the light. If you find your baby is sleeping perfectly fine in the light of day, then leave the lights on in baby’s room at night. The best lights are soft yellow lights, and if the baby sleeps in a sunny room, this will best emulate that environment. During daytime, keep baby up, establish nap routines. Using this knowledge, you can also start slowly darkening baby’s room during naptime and bedtime to see if you cannot flip the script on that baby.
- Read: Infant Sleep Patterns
- Watch and Learn: How to teach your baby to sleep at night.
#27 Change Baby’s Diet (or yours if breastfeeding)
Babies can have food allergies. Food allergies can cause stomach ailments and rashes that can make the baby uncomfortable. What do babies do when they are uncomfortable? They cry. If breastfeeding, yes, it is your diet that needs to change. It is quite possible that whatever upsets your tummy also upsets babies.
- Read for Change: How Your Breastfeeding Diet Affects Your Baby
- Watch and Learn: How to tell what food allergies your baby has.
#28 Hang out With Baby
“I’m just so lonely, I could cry!”
Hey, Mom! Dad! Baby gets lonely (and even sad) too. Hang out with your baby. These are some exciting times, and baby does not want to miss a moment of it. There are all kinds of activities you can do with your baby, some are as simple as peek-a-boo, reading, singing, laying on the floor, and watching baby perform amazing feats.
- Read and React: Can My Baby Feel Sad?
- Read and Do!: The Stay at Home Mom’s Guide to Fun with Baby
- Watch and Play: How to play with your newborn
#29 Improvise your own version of Pink Floyd’s Laser Light Show
Baby will stop crying the instant something is truly distracting!
Remember playing shadow bunnies on the wall? Yes, I know you cannot sit for hours doing that, you could get carpal tunnel, or your hands could get stuck that way. I get it. Babies have short attention spans until they are engaged. Make shadows with lights and mobiles, place a patterned scarf over a lamp, there are also mobile lamps that play music.
- Read and Be Intrigued: Simply Irresistible: What Fascinates Your Baby and Why
- Watch and Use: Sensory Development and Infant Engagement
#30 Check the baby’s temperature
Sometimes babies can be sick and we do not even know it.
If feverish, the baby is going to be cranky and will cry. The best thing to do is to keep the baby in a cool, not cold room, in the lightest clothing (cotton is always best), with only a light cover if at all. Wipe baby’s face, hands, neck, back, and feet down with a cool cloth soaked in lavender or chamomile to aid in bringing the fever down and calming baby. Only give fever reducers your pediatrician has recommended. Never allow a baby’s temperature to get above 100 without consulting your pediatrician.
- Read: Newborn Immune System
- Read: Fever in Babies
- Read for the Safety of Your Baby: Medicines You Shouldn’t Give Your Baby or Toddler
- Watch and Learn: How to care for a sick baby
#31 Check the household or baby’s room thermostat
Baby may be crying because he/she is too warm. When rooms are too warm, it creates a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. The best temperature to keep the baby’s room is 68 to 72 degrees F. Babies are cooler and safer when they sleep in footed pajamas or sleep sacks for infants and no blanket. Avoid hoodies or nightcaps as these can fall off cover baby’s nose mouth.
- Read and Keep Your Cool: What is the Ideal Temperature for Baby’s Room?
- Read: Best Sleepwear for Newborns, Infants, and Toddlers
- Watch and Learn: How to keep baby cool in hot weather
#32 Raise baby up
When you are busy and baby is lying flat on his or her back, you are nothing more than the top of your head! Imagine how weird that seems to poor baby. The fact is, babies do not develop a sense of object permanence until about age 3. Sometimes you just must figure ways to fake baby out until he or she grows out of it. There are several recommended strategies. Try walking out, and right back in while doing chores, or putting away baby’s laundry. Try longer and longer increments away from the baby, and don’t run back in the minute you hear baby tearing up.
- Read: Out of Sight Out of Mind: The Development of Object Permanence
- Read and Do!: Peek-A-Bop! Strategies to Teach Object Permanence
- Watch and Play: Teaching Baby There is Sunshine When You are Gone P1
#33 Get Some Fresh Air!
The most obvious things to do to get baby to stop crying, we often forget. Taking baby outside in the stroller is almost foolproof. New sights and sounds fascinate babies. The fresh air is good for both mom (or dad) and baby. Walk with baby for as long as you can. Take a different route every day. Talk to your neighbors. This will not only occupy baby, but also help with socialization. By the time you return home, baby is mentally and physically tired, and so should you be. Take a nap. You both deserve it.
- Read and Take a Walk: A Dose of Daily Fresh Air
- Watch and Be Inspired: Glimpses into Saturday and Sunday
#34 We Can Work It Out!
Maintaining your own physical fitness can be a challenge. Because you feel like you must “tend” to the baby so he or she won’t cry. Include baby in your work out. When my daughter was a baby, I had a gym in the basement. I took her down with me and sat her beside my workout station in her bouncy seat. I kept a television down there to watch while I got on my elliptical. Putting the television on something lively- Friends was a safe and entertaining bet, it always kept her happy and kept me from keeping on the baby fat. As soon as she could talk she called my workouts “Watching Joey.” To this day, my daughter loves Friends.
- Read for Your Health: Parents Who Exercise: Overcoming Challenges
- Watch and Get Fit: 18 Minute Full Mommy and Me Workouts
#35 Painting with Bob Ross
I know this sounds like the craziest tip of all to soothe baby, but let me tell you. Watching Bob Ross: The Joy of Painting works for my Weimaraner, who suffers from separation anxiety. I discovered this by accident one day when I did not have time to find anything else before leaving the house. My dog watched intently and stayed calm for the time I was gone.
- Read and Believe It!: Here’s Why It’s So Calming to Watch Bob Ross’ �The Joy of Painting’
- Watch and See for Yourself: Bob Ross: Valley View
As I conclude, what I consider the 35 best tips to stop baby’s crying, just remember that your mood can easily become your baby’s mood. Take care of yourself, and yes, it is easier said than done but get plenty of sleep, fresh air, exercise, and proper nutrition. You cannot take care of your baby if you do not take care of yourself. I hope you have enjoyed this somewhat entertaining, and hopefully the insightful guide to soothing a crying baby. I leave you with what I said at the beginning, the time you spend soothing your baby’s crying now, can indeed pay off in the future. Now, I must close, because my daughter wants to go out for an early dinner, with her mom. 🙂