Your baby is the cutest of them all, of course, with those sweet little cheeks, eat-‘em-up toes and ... a set of lungs that make for a promising opera career. No, there's never a doubt when baby needs something and, good parent that you are, you probably try to soothe your tiny one back to coos and smiles. But it might not always work.
Sometimes babies just need to cry. Like many other things with infants, intense crying is often a phase that will pass. That said, even the most patient parent can have a hard time with a crying baby, which is why it can be helpful to have some parenting tips and tricks up your sleeve:
Soothe your crying baby
- Meet your baby's basic needs. It could be that baby is hungry, wet, messy, too hot or too cold. Or the problem could be something less obvious, like your baby is lying on a toy. Troubleshooting could be the key to success here.
- Make sure your baby isn't sick. We all have those days when we’re not feeling great, and that might be the case with your crying baby. Check your baby’s temperature, be on the lookout for diaper or other rashes, and listen to your baby’s breathing. If you have questions, call your doctor's office.
- Try a pacifier. Sometimes a baby can be comforted by sucking. In this case, the mighty binky could be a solution. If your baby’s tiny, you might have to hold the binky, but you might not mind — especially if it works.
- Walk your baby in the stroller or go for a ride in the car. Three … two … one … peace. Motion can sometimes help soothe a crying baby. You might also try a baby swing if your baby is old enough.
- Harness the power of sound. Sometimes clothes tumbling in a dryer, soft music or a white noise smart phone app will comfort a crying baby. You can also talk or sing to your baby (but don’t think you’re a bad singer if it doesn't work).
To soothe yourself
the New Parent Support Program for in-home support with your new baby. Ask them for more information about the Period of PURPLE Crying and online resources to share with family, friends, and your baby's caregivers.
Your baby is awesome, and your love for your baby is obvious. But parenting isn't easy, and the first few months may be some of the hardest, especially if your baby cries a lot. For the sake of stress management, try to keep the following in mind if you start to feel overwhelmed:
- Remember, all babies cry. Crying is normal, especially in the late afternoon and evening during what is sometimes referred to as "the witching hour." Just try to remind yourself the crying won't last forever.
- Take a step back. If the crying is getting to you, take a break, ask for help, and remember you're doing a great job. To soften the sound of sobs, you can try putting baby in a safe place, like a crib, shutting the door and checking back every five or ten minutes.
- Calm your nerves. Take a long, deep breath. Do some jumping jacks, call a good friend or light a candle. Do whatever healthy thing it takes to relax a little.
- Remember, don't shake your baby. Shaking a baby can cause serious injury or death. If you get to the point where you feel you can't take the crying, put your baby safely in the crib and step away for a few minutes. If you can, call a friend or your spouse to help, or call Military OneSource to schedule a free, confidential, non-medical counseling session.
For more tools and resources to help you manage life with your new baby, visit Military OneSource's parenting page. You can also speak with a confidential non-medical counselor about all of your parenting questions by calling 800-342-9647. Counselors are available in person, by phone, online and via secure video.