As caregivers of young children, one of our most important and challenging roles is to deal with a crying infant. One needs to understand that babies cry a lot and you have to learn what soothes each baby. Always keep in mind it can take a while to figure out a baby’s cry. Do not get frustrated or upset with the baby or yourself. Research shows crying is the behavior which most often precipitates an infant being shaken or harmed. Babies will have times of inconsolable crying. This is how babies communicate needs, wants, and emotions. Take time with the baby to learn as much as possible about him/her and you may learn from the parents as well. Review child development information, focusing on age appropriate literature. Learn about early brain development and how you can enhance a baby’s learning.
Know what to do before you get frustrated:
- Try to sooth your baby, is he/she fed, check to see he/she has a clean diaper and is not sick.
- Check to see if the baby is too hot or too cold.
- Is the baby over tired or over stimulated?
- Locate a safe place to lay baby down and walk away.
- It is normal for babies to cry, some cry a lot!
- You are not a bad person if you let the baby cry.
- Crying cannot always be controlled.
- Taking care of a baby is a BIG job.
- Ask for HELP!
Ways to sooth a Crying Baby:
- Is the baby hungry? Know how often the baby eats. Remember, as they grow their eating patterns grow.
- Check to see if the baby needs a diaper change.
- Check the room temperature. Is the baby too hot or too cold?
- Try cuddling and holding the baby (Babies need to feel safe and loved).
- Walk with baby.
- Gently rock or bounce the baby in your arms.
- Try shushing in the baby’s ear.
- Offer the baby a pacifier.
- Put the baby down for a nap.
- Try giving the baby a soothing bath or massage.
- Put baby in a car seat and take a car ride or put the baby in a stroller and go for a walk.
- Listen to music with the baby.
- Sing to the baby.
Remember that crying doesn’t hurt a baby. Educate everyone that is involved in the baby’s life. Plan ahead and develop a plan to support yourself during stressful times. Identify people who can come and help. Create a list of names and phone numbers you might need in a hurry. Numbers should include parents or guardian, the hospital emergency room, a relative, a supportive friend, or a counselor. Establishing routines and schedules will help to keep track of what the baby might need.
If you would like more information on helping crying infants, contact Heather Gordon at 815-484-9442 Ext: 228
Zero to Three https://www.zerotothree.org/
National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome https://www.dontshake.org
The Period of Purple Crying http://purplecrying.info/