How To Calm A Crying Baby

by wrylilt

Have a screaming baby? Can't figure out how to calm them down? Here are some ideas.

When you bring home a new baby from the hospital you'll often find your world is turned upside down. From the peace and calm of a happy adult house hold where problems are usually resolved by talking (with an occasional shout!), your house will be full of cries of someone who wants to communicate but hasn't quite picked up the basics yet.
It can be frustrating dealing with a baby who doesn't understand that you're trying your best to meet his or her needs. Until baby can learn to communicate with gestures or expressions it's often hard to tell what they want.
However if you believe baby has everything they need and you still can't get them to settle this guide will give you some ideas for helping them calm down and/or go to sleep.

Why Does A Baby Cry?

There are many reasons why a baby can cry, and before you decide how to calm them, you need an idea of the problem. Here are some of the top reasons babies become unsettled or cry:

  • Hungry
  • Sore tummy
  • Too cold
  • Too hot
  • Full nappy
  • Boredom
  • Overstimulation
  • Teething
How To Calm An Unsettled Baby
How To Calm An Unsettled Baby

Ways To Calm Down An Upset Baby

Try these ideas once you are sure baby has a dry nappy and is not hungry.


  • Music - Put on some music, better still if it was music baby heard in the womb.
  • White Noise - Try putting a radio on a non-working station, turning on a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer.
  • Parent Noise - Try making "Shhhh" sounds, clicking the tongue or singing softly.


  • Driving - Put baby in the car seat and go for a drive. Babies love the motion and the whole experience. For added relief turn the radio on low.
  • Walking - Take baby for a walk. The gentle up and down motion is soothing and also replicates the movement they felt when in the womb.
  • Rocking - Sway, bounce or gently rock baby back and forth.


  • Outside - Many babies love the experience of going out in the fresh air. Trees and greenery often hold a special fascination.
  • Dark, quiet room - Sometimes after a full day, baby can be worn out from all the learning and noises. The quiet darkness will let baby relax and escape the big scary world of things they don't understand yet.
  • On their tummy on your chest - This position can help baby if they have a sore tummy and also allow them to feel close to you and hear your heartbeat (as they did in the womb.)


  • Swaddling - Try wrapping baby in a swaddling cloth - for older babies you can leave their arms out. This keeps them warm and also helps them feel comfortably snug as they did in the womb.
  • Water - Try giving 5-10mL of boiled water in a syringe or, as baby gets older - a bottle of boiled water.


  • Natural teething relief - medicine such as Brauer's Teething Liquid can be taken from birth if your baby is an early teether. Just beware that some teething medicines cannot be taken before four months of age.
  • Natural wind medicines - like Infant's Friend can help relieve wind and stomach pain.


  • Breastfeeding Diet - If you're breastfeeding, certain foods in your diet can increase wind and cause pain to a baby's sensitive digestive system. Dairy, coffee, onions and cabbage are some of the worst offenders.
  • Formula - Some babies may be allergic to certain types of formula. Sometimes trying a thicker formula or a non dairy formula can help. 
Updated: 09/01/2012, wrylilt
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Sheri_Oz on 09/02/2012

I remember those nights and days and days and nights. Now with my first grandchild on the way, it's good to have this reminder of the simple ways to help the baby be more comfortable.

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