Baby Crying: Causes and Ways to Soothe Them
When your baby is crying, most people would do anything to ease their discomfort and calm them down, but it can be difficult. If you want to effectively calm your baby, you need to understand what is making them cry, as well as different methods to soothe them.
For parents around the world, one sound is universal – their baby crying. When an infant is unable to express their emotions through words, they rely on crying to communicate their feelings, such as hunger, exhaustion, pain, loneliness and discomfort. The amount of things that adults take for granted due to their knowledge of the world is surprising. As functional adults, we are able to manage our temperature, feed ourselves, change clothes, go to the bathroom comfortably, seek out attention, avoid social contact, medicate ourselves and hundreds of other things every single day. An infant, however, underdeveloped both mentally and physically, needs someone else to take care of them. From changing a diaper to expressing a desire to be held, babies cry for many different reasons. Sometimes, tears can signal a bout of colic, or some sort of intestinal distress, so chronic crying should never be ignored. There are many theories and strategies regarding parenting and caring for a crying child, which is the subject of an entirely different article.
However, once your child has been fed, changed and given an appropriate amount of attention and love, it can help to have some effective strategies to calm down an upset child. While occasional crying fits are normal, if your child seems to constantly be crying, there may be something wrong, and you should go to see a medical professional immediately. If that isn’t the case, however, and you are simply looking for some helpful hints for soothing a crying child, then this collection of remedies for soothing a crying baby might be just what you’ve been looking for.
Remedies to Soothe a Crying Baby
Play Soothing Sounds: One of the most soothing sounds for any child is the sound of their mother’s heartbeat. This type of repetitive stimuli can often help to calm down a baby when they are crying. If you are unable to hold the baby directly against your chest, playing low-impact, repetitive music can often lull an infant into a calmer state. The best option is to hold the child, hum, or sing, but recorded music is also a good choice.
Warm Bath: Temperature discomfort is often the reason behind an infant’s incessant crying, and that isn’t their fault! It is far more uncomfortable for a child to be cold – and more dangerous – so increasing the temperature is a common strategy. A warm bath is an excellent choice for soothing a crying child, as this sort of medium and temperature change can often be a pleasant distraction.
Teething: Teething is an unpredictable part of early childhood, and can start anywhere from three months to one year, and may continue well into the child’s third year. This painful experience is almost exclusively expressed as crying by infants and young children, so you should be aware of this period of development, and adjust your soothing strategies accordingly. Teething children like to suck on things and put objects in their mouth to rub on their gums for relief. Be sure that the objects they choose are clean and safe to chew and put in their mouths.
Massage: A gentle back massage or belly rub can often be a quick solution for crying. Children are very prone to tickling, and tend to like it, which is often an excellent way to give them pleasure and distract them from whatever distressing emotion was causing them to cry.
Change Positions: Just like adults, babies get stiff when they are kept in one position for long periods of time. This is particularly common when feeding a baby, as they may be in an awkward position while they are eating. This can also happen when they are in strollers, being held, or sleeping in their crib. A quick change in position can often alter the contents of their stomach, their perspective on their surroundings and their mood!
Swaddling: If you are unable to hold a baby, such as when you go to sleep at night, or while you are occupied doing other things, mimicking the sensation of being held can help to calm a crying child. Swaddling a baby should be done carefully, with a comfortable blanket, and this can often lull a child to sleep.
Finger: If a baby continues to cry, particularly if they are teething, you can always offer a clean finger for them to suck on. This is reminiscent of the nipple, which is a naturally soothing element in a baby’s life, and also stimulates the gums to provide relief while teething.
Car Ride: The dull roar of a car engine and the slight vibration of driving can do wonders for a baby who won’t stop crying. This is similar to being rocked or rolled in a stroller, except the darkness of the car and the quiet, repetitive flash of streetlights (driving at night is commonly recommended) can ease them quietly to sleep.
Herbal Tea: Although some people are wary of using herbal remedies on young children, mild herbal teas can be very effective in calming an upset child who won’t stop crying. A mild tea can be dabbed on the gums with a finger, and this can speed sleep and provide relief from the pain of teething.
Vanilla Extract: This popular natural remedy works because of its soothing and warming qualities, so when it is applied to the gums of a child suffering from teething or colic, it can quickly calm the child and eliminate crying. Vanilla extract is also well known to be a stomach relaxant, which can often be the underlying reason for the infant’s discomfort.
Cloves: A very small amount of clove oil can be used on an infant’s gums if they are suffering from teething and won’t stop crying. Clove oil has numbing properties and analgesic effects, which can provide relief from the pain and inflammation of this common discomfort.
Eliminate Stimuli: Excessive visual or audio stimuli can often overwhelm a young baby, resulting in their crying. If you take a crying baby into a darkened room, or turn off the television or radio, it may help to calm them down. Quiet music, a rocking chair, and a dark room can be an excellent strategy if you simply can’t get your baby to calm down.