How to soothe a crying baby: It starts with listening.

It would be just fantastic if every newborn baby could turn towards his mother and say, “Mom? I just wet myself. Think maybe you could change me sometime in the next few minutes?” But sadly, it’s going to be another couple of years until that’s possible.

So instead the baby cries. And cries. And sometimes cries some more.

Moms aren’t always prepared for how strong their instincts are, and how emotional a reaction they’ll have when they hear their baby whimper or whine or full-on wail. It’s perfectly natural. Your heart tells you to go right to that baby and that’s just what you do.

In fact, you may have a physical reaction too—plenty of moms report feeling their milk let down even when they hear someone else’s baby cry.

With your natural instincts already guiding you in the right direction, with a little bit of knowledge you can turn those sobs into smiles. It’s often as simple as getting to know your baby and as time goes on, starting to recognize his different cries. In no time you’ll know just what to do to soothe them away.

The I’m uncomfortable cry: Is she too hot? Too cold? Is she gassy? Is her snapsuit digging into her? Has she gotten herself into a position she can’t get out of? Babies are excellent at letting you know when they’re feeling less than comfortable. Take a quick look and it might become apparent. Sometimes soothing your baby is as easy as taking off a hat or rolling her on her back.

The feed me cry: If you consider the size of that teeny little belly and how much food it can hold, it’s not surprising that babies get hungry every 2 hours or so. And they’re not shy about telling you, either.  If the baby is hungry, try to feed her right away before she gets too worked up and it becomes more difficult.

The change me cry: Newborns can tear through ten or more diapers a day. Some are okay sitting in the warm, soiled diapers, some will make sure you know within three seconds that they’re raring for a change. Soon enough, you’ll  know your baby’s comfort level best of all.

The get me out of here cry: Babies get bored, just like adults. Give yours something stimulating like a high contrast black and white image to look at, or a toy with a baby-safe reflective mirror.  Or get out of the house. Even a walk around the block can go a long way to soothing both of you. It’s also possible that the cry is indicating overstimulation. Take away that toy or mobile, dim the lights, and pick the baby up. Sometimes a nice long hug from mommy is all it takes.

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