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Baby won't stop crying: 7 ways to soothe your baby

by Lareese Craig ,
Baby won't stop crying: 7 ways to soothe your baby© Think stock

When you hear your newborn baby crying you'll probably feel a mixture of distress, worry and guilt but being a mum is the toughest job in the world so don't make things harder for yourself by questioning your parenting skills. All babies cry and as distressing as their blubbering noises are, it's their only way of communicating with you. Learning ways to soothe your little one will help keep you calm and in control whilst comforting your baby in all the right ways.

  1. · Crying checklist
  2. · Swaddling
  3. · Shushing sounds
  4. · Sucking
  5. · Self-settle
  6. · Wind down
  7. · Recognising your own state of mind

It can be hard to work out what your baby is trying to tell you when they cry, leaving you feeling frustrated, anxious and helpless.

Whether they're sobbing through the night or wailing for hours on end, your baby's cry is never easy on the ear and can quickly burst your happy mummy bubble.

The reality is they might not be too hot or too cold, hungry or in need of a cuddle, sometimes they just need a good old boo, don't we all? And in this case mum really is the magic word.

Learning to soothe your baby comes naturally with most of us relying on skin to skin contact and gentle rocking motions and hushing noises to calm our crying bubbas.

But when you've tried everything there is to try and exhausted your animated voice, throwing a mummy wobbler and kicking and screaming on the floor seems like the only way to cope.

As liberating as that sounds, it might not have to come to that! Not when we've recruited Katy Hayden, Tinies Childcare Expert, and Caroline Macrory, Cofounder and Therapist for Write As Rain, to help out with their expert advice on how to stop your baby crying.

Here's seven of their expert-approved tips to ease and soothe your baby. From checklists to self-settle techniques and more, it's all here...

Crying checklist

It can be impossible to know what your infant wants when you're simply going off a cry, but running through the checklist and ticking off the possibilities can be a fail-safe way of isolating his/her discomfort.

When you're holding your baby, run through these quick fire questions in your head:

Do they need to be changed?

Is your baby too hot?

Are they still hungry? Keeping a simple diary of feed times, length of breastfeed or amount of bottle feed can help to understand your baby’s feeding pattern and determine whether they may be crying through hunger.

Are they just a bit fed up / bored? Many babies benefit from a change of scene throughout the day and the distraction of a change in environment can help to dispel an unsettled moment.

Do they have wind? Do they seem in pain, are they arching their back or drawing their knees up to their chest? It could be that they need a good burp, or they may be suffering with some gastric issues such as reflux.

Are they over-tired? Most babies today are not getting enough sleep and an over-tired baby will often cry, struggle to settle to sleep and can sometimes become inconsolable. Sleep will differ from baby to baby but approximately 16 hours per day at 3-4 hour stints is average.

Caroline adds: "As a parent, it is important to follow the non-verbal cues of a child and to establish a pattern of communication and understanding. Sometimes it may be difficult to work out why a baby is crying and you may have to go through a process of trial and error until you work out what it needs.

"​As you get to know your baby better, this will become easier. However, the most important factor is that your child understands that you are there and are attuned to their needs."


Kim Kardashian may have been criticised for wrapping up her baby Nori so tightly but swaddling provides the support your baby is used to experiencing within the womb.

Super nanny Katy explains the benefits: "Wrapping baby up can give them a sense of security as it mirrors the pressure they once felt within the uterus. It can also reduce the little jerks they do which can startle and disturb their sleep."

It's not a technique that suits every baby but if they're not a fan they'll be sure to let you know.

Shushing sounds

Never underestimate the power of vocal soothing, Katy says swooshing noises "imitate the continual whooshing sound in the womb. White noise such as the hoover also helps so next time you complain about the domestic goddess vs mum balance, make them work together!

"The steady rhythm of household sounds like washing machines and hairdryers might just be a great alternative to singing those nursery rhymes as they can help lull your baby off to sleep."

Caroline also advises "using sensory, rhythmic techniques to soothe your baby and help it to begin learning to self-regulate."


Sucking triggers the calming reflex and releases natural chemicals within the brain so don’t be afraid of using a dummy in the early stages if it helps to soothe your baby.

Babies will naturally suck their fingers, toes and anything they can get their hand on, particularly if they're feeling tired or unsettled so whether you would rather let them suck on a thumb or a dummy is entirely your choice.

If your little one is crying, try placing their thumb near their mouths to see if they will naturally take to this technique for self-settling,


Kate says: "To encourage your baby to build up positive associations with sleep it is important to allow them to learn how to self-settle and soothe without the need of constant rocking or the use of any other ‘sleep crutch’.

"For night time, as well as naps during the day, continually putting them into their cot awake and, when necessary, giving repeated reassurances will help to teach them the art of independent sleep."

Wind down

Most mothers would shy away from leaving baby to cry but it can be a healthy way of teaching them to self-regulate.

​Kate explains more: "Most babies will have unsettled periods but if they are crying inconsolably for more than 10 to 15 minutes a couple of times a day or more, then I would advise you to seek further help to discover the root cause of these crying episodes and rule out any gastric issues such as reflux or colic.

"However, some babies will often cry for a few minutes as part of their ‘wind-down’ period before going to sleep and it can be the parent’s natural reaction to try and calm their baby at the first whimper which can sometimes prove to hinder the sleep process.

"​When settling your baby, or during the night, if they do cry, try to leave them for just a few minutes to see if they may actually settle to sleep."

Recognising your own state of mind

When you're busy looking after your baby it's very easy to ignore your needs but to care for your baby effectively you have to recognise your own emotional state.

Caroline explains: "A baby or child will pick up on their parent’s emotional state – therefore if the parent becomes stressed, the child will become increasingly upset. If the parent remains calm and composed (as difficult as this may be), the infant will eventually calm as well.

"The key is to attempt to look after yourself. Try to take a step back and have some time out if you recognise that you are stressed or overwhelmed, or not responding calmly to your baby. Don’t be afraid to ask for support. Remember – a calm mother means a calm baby."

Got any fail-safe tips to soothe your little one, care to share? Tweet us @sofeminineuk!

Lareese Craig
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