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Top tips to calm a crying baby

Written by Amina Hatia RM
Medically reviewed by Marley Hall BA RM Diphe
This resource covers

Ok, so he’s got a clean bottom, he’s been fed, he’s been winded so why on earth is he still crying?!  Assuming you’ve met his basic needs and he isn’t ill, hungry or in need of a clean nappy, you could try some of the following tried and tested methods for calming your crying baby…

  • Put him in a sling and carry him close to you – the motion of walking around with you will mimic the sensation of being back in the womb and will comfort your little one.
  • Try rocking him. You can hold him in your arms and walk around with him or rock together in a rocking chair. Or you can rock him in his cradle or pram
  • Try swaddling your baby.  For 9 months your baby was curled up in your tummy and towards the end of your pregnancy his movement will have been very restricted.  Some babies like the sensation of being swaddled as it reminds them of being in the womb;  swaddling often calms babies because of the comforting contact with something warm and soft and the sense of being held firmly.
  • Take him out for a walk in the fresh air, either in a sling or in his pram
  • Try a car ride round the block. However, this is a desperate measure and not one to get into the habit of using!
  • Run a warm bath and get into it with your baby
  • Sing to your baby; it may at least drown out his cries for a while and help keep you calm
  • Try leaving him to cry for a few minutes – some babies actually need to cry themselves to sleep and can become overtired.
  • If things don’t improve, you might consider taking your baby to a cranial osteopath. During the birth process, particularly if it was a difficult one, the pressures on his head may have caused an imbalance in the skull which is causing him discomfort. A cranial osteopath very gently manipulates the skull to correct the displacement of the cranial bones. Many parents have found that one or two visits to a cranial osteopath eases the problem of excessive crying. Always go to a qualified practitioner; contact the Osteopathic Centre for Children* for more information.

Don’t think you are spoiling your baby if he needs lots of cuddling and enjoys being carried round with you.

Human babies are designed to be carried. An American study observed that the young of animals fell into two categories – cache or carry. Either they were meant to be left for long periods in the nest while their parents hunted for food (cache) or they were meant to be carried by parents all the time while the parents were hunting (carry).

The authors of the study concluded that human babies definitely fell into the carry category. They based their conclusion on the fact that human breast milk, with its low protein content, indicates that babies should be fed frequently – every two to three hours (they aren’t designed to be left alone for long periods), and that a human baby has reflexes which represent clinging and attachment to the mother.