Soothe the Baby

How to calm a crying baby

Check physical needs first:

  • Is the baby hungry?
  • Thirsty?
  • Need to be burped?
  • Too hot or cold?
  • Diaper dirty?

Check for signs of illness or fever. If you think the baby may be sick, seek medical attention immediately.

If your baby is healthy

If your baby isn't experiencing any of the physical needs mentioned above, try one of these eight tips to soothe and calm your crying baby:

  1. Rock the baby, hold the baby close, or walk with the baby. 
  2. Stand up, hold the baby close, and repeatedly bend your knees. 
  3. Sing or talk to the baby in a soothing voice. 
  4. Gently rub or stroke the baby's back, chest or tummy. 
  5. Offer a pacifier or try to distract the baby with a rattle or toy. 
  6. Swaddle the baby with a soft blanket. 
  7. Take the baby for a ride in a stroller or in a car seat in the car. 
  8. Turn on some music or noise, such as a vacuum cleaner or clothes dryer.

Try each of the above for a few minutes before trying something else, or try a few together.

If nothing seems to work, it is okay to leave the baby in a safe place (like a crib or infant seat) and take time to calm down. Leave the room. Shut the door. Take a few deep breaths. Call a friend or family member.

You should always respond when your baby cries. But sometimes, no matter what you try, you might not be able to get the crying to stop. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and your baby won’t stop crying, try to remember these helpful tips:

  • All babies cry—it is how they communicate.
  • Your baby may cry more each day until he or she is 4-5 months old.
  • Babies often cry more in the evenings.
  • Crying can last 30-40 minutes and even longer. An infant may spend 4-5 hours a day crying.
  • Babies often cry intensely when they are not in pain, even though they may look like they are in pain.
  • Sometimes your baby may need to cry to relieve stress, and it's okay to let him or her cry.
  • Crying may come and go, and you won't know why.
  • Crying may not stop for an extended period of time, no matter what you try.
  • Take comfort in knowing that the crying will eventually stop.