How to Calm a Crying Baby

Hearing a baby cry can be very stressful for new parents, but it is an important way for babies to communicate their needs. Babies use crying to tell parents and caregivers that they need their help. When your baby is crying:

  1. Try to figure out the reason for crying. Is the baby:
    • In need of a diaper change?
    • Too hot or too cold?
    • Overwhelmed?
    • Tired?
    • Hungry?
    • Uncomfortable?
  2. There may be times when you have checked everything and your baby still cries. Try holding your baby close to you and see if that calms the baby.
  3. Or speak or sing softly, gently rock, sway or bounce your baby, gently massage her back, arms, and legs to calm her.

Remember to be patient. Calming your baby takes time. Sticking with the same action for several minutes before trying something different can often be the key to soothing your baby.  If your baby continues to cry or becomes more upset, try one of the other suggestions listed above. 

If you start to feel angry or overwhelmed by your baby’s crying, lay your baby down in a safe place for a few minutes. As your baby gets older, she will get better at letting you know what she needs and she will cry less.

What if the crying goes on for hours?

Call your pediatrician. Sometimes babies cry for long periods of time for no reason, but do make sure that your child is not sick or injured.

Adapted from UC Davis Human Lactation Center’s Baby Behaviors curriculum

For More Information

Download and print Fussy Baby, a colorful tip sheet from our Parent Resource Library.