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Consoling a Crying Baby

by Alicia Kenny

You probably already know that crying is your baby’s way of communicating with you, but what do you do when your precious little one starts “communicating” and won’t stop? You’ll have to learn how to interpret or “read” your baby’s various cries in order to respond appropriately. Once you’ve determined that your baby is not sick, tired, hungry or in pain, you can use various comforting and soothing strategies to help Baby calm down.

Some reasons your baby will cry are: hunger, fatigue, boredom, discomfort, frustration, pain, illness, loneliness, colic and irritability. As a general rule, make sure Baby’s physical needs are taken care of first. In other words, make sure your baby is well-fed, check his or her diaper, see if he or she needs to burp etc. If you’re sure that your baby doesn’t have a physical problem that needs to be met right away, then use one or more of the following techniques to soothe Baby and calm him or her down:

  1. Carrying your baby for several hours throughout the day will very likely decrease crying overall and will have a very calming influence.
  2. Use repetitive rhythmic movements to satisfy Baby’s needs for security, safety and predictability. Try a baby swing, rocking chair or dancing while holding baby close.
  3. Swaddle the baby in a lightweight blanket to temporarily restore to Baby the snug, closed in feeling that he or she had while in the womb.
  4. Turn on some background noise such as the washing machine or vacuum cleaner or soothing sounds such as ocean or waterfall sounds. These rhythmic, repetitive sounds can be very comforting to the baby.
  5. Give Baby a pacifier up to six months of age as babies have a strong sucking urge that is not related to their desire for food.
  6. Take your baby for a ride in the car to distract and lull him or her to sleep.
  7. Gently pat, stroke or massage your baby. Stroking Baby’s skin sends messages to the brain to increase levels of beneficial chemicals and hormones that help Baby to bear pain and regulate levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
  8. Allowing your baby to cuddle with a soft object can help soothe him or her.

If none of these techniques work, then consider the possibility that your little one may just need to cry it out until he or she has released all of the pent up feelings inside. Also consider your own mental and emotional well-being as you don’t want to act out any feelings of tension, resentment, frustration or hostility. It’s ok to recognize when you’re close to your breaking point and ask for help! You and your baby will be glad that you did!

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