There are things you can try to comfort a crying baby. Not all of them will work for all babies, then you have to gradually get to know your baby and your own special personality to find out what works for him and you.
My Baby's Crying - What Can I do?
• Wrap her up and hold her tight
Newborns show a definite preference for feeling snug and secure, just as they were in the womb, so you might like to try swaddling your baby in a blanket to see if she likes that. Many parents also find that holding their baby close, especially when she can hear their heartbeat, or putting her in a baby sling is soothing. Other babies find swaddling too restrictive and respond better to other forms of reassurance such as being rocked or sung to.
• Find a constant rhythm
In the womb, your baby could hear the regular beat of your heart: that's one of the reasons many babies continue to like being held close. However, other regular, repetitive noises can also have a calming effect. You could try playing gentle music or singing a lullaby. Many parents find that if their baby can hear the steady rhythm of a washing machine or the "white noise" of a vacuum cleaner or hairdryer, that will soon lull her off to sleep. (Never put your baby on top of a washing machine or clothes dryer - always put her on the floor next to it.)
• Rock-a-bye baby
Most babies love to be gently rocked, and you may find that your baby is calmed by this, too, whether you walk around rocking her or sit with her in a rocking chair. Special baby swings can soothe some babies, while others are comforted by being in rather faster motion and drop off almost as soon as they're driven somewhere in a car.
• Try a massage
Giving your baby a massage or gently rubbing her back or tummy can help soothe her. If she seems to have pains with wind, try feeding her in a more upright position and winding her after a feed by holding her against your shoulder. Babies who have colic may sometimes be soothed by having their tummies rubbed, and it may make you feel better to know that at least you are trying to do something to help your baby's distress.
• Let her suck on something
In some newborns, the need to suck is very strong and sucking a dummy or (clean) finger or thumb can bring great comfort. "Comfort sucking" can steady a baby's heart rate, relax her stomach, and help her settle.
• Don't demand too much of yourself
A baby who cries almost constantly will do herself no lasting harm, but may cause a great deal of stress and worry for her parents. If your baby seems pretty unhappy to be here and resists every effort that you make to cheer her up or calm her down, it can be hard not to feel rejected as well as frustrated. Parents sometimes blame themselves, feeling that it is their incompetence as parents that is causing the crying, but this is rarely the case. If you know that your baby's needs have been met, that there is nothing physically wrong causing your baby to cry, and if you've tried everything you can think of to calm her but nothing's worked, it's time to take care of yourself so that you don't become overwhelmed. Here are a few suggestions:
• Take deep breaths.
• Put your baby down somewhere and let her cry for a while out of your hearing.
• If it helps, put on some quiet music and let yourself relax for ten minutes.
• Call a friend or relative and get some support. Give yourself a break and let someone else take over for a while.
• Talk to your health visitor about local support groups or mother-and-baby groups where you can share your feelings and discuss ways of coping with the crying with other new parents.
• If it all gets too much, call one of the telephone helplines. The Cry-sis helpline on 020 7404 5011 is for parents of babies who have sleep problems and / or who cry excessively. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for emotional support and practical advice.
• Remind yourself that nothing is wrong with your baby and that crying in itself won't hurt her. Sometimes simply accepting that you have a baby who cries a great deal can help, in that you don't wear yourself out looking for reasons for the crying, blaming yourself for it, or offering endless new remedies which don't work.
• Remind yourself that this is a phase and it will pass.
As parent of a newborn is hard work. Being the parent of a newborn who cries a great deal is even harder work. Get help and support when you need it, rather than letting things build up. And take comfort from the fact that each day, as your baby grows, she learns new ways of being able to communicate her needs to you. Gradually, as she does so, the crying will stop.