Here are some things to consider when your baby cries. Does the baby's diaper need changing? Remember that a fussy baby might actually cry more during the changing but usually he or she will calm down once they are dry and more comfortable.
Does the baby seem too warm or cold to the touch? If too warm, remove some blankets or loosen clothing. If cold, adding a blanket and some socks will help.
Does the baby need to be fed? Some babies who are fed on demand cry less, especially during the day, than babies who are fed on a 4 hour schedule. Sometimes babies may need just a little extra milk or formula to make them settle down. Try burping the baby, too.
Does the baby have a fever or seem ill? If so, parents should call their pediatrician or health clinic and get advice.
Does your baby just need to feel close to you? Sometimes babies cry because they need to feel the comforting contact of their parents or caregivers.
Here are some additional soothing techniques to try that may help your baby soothe easier and cry less:
If able, try feeding your baby on demand. This will lessen your baby's crying too, especially during the day.
Try holding your baby's bare skin against your own. You might find he or she is comforted by the warm close contact.
Try to remember that sometimes babies will just need to cry no matter what you do. Try to relax about it and remember - it's normal and it won't last forever!
Many parents report that their babies are comforted by the 5 "Ss" - a set of soothing strategies promoted by pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp.
Wrap your fussy baby snugly in a light blanket. (42" square blanket is best.) Don't overheat your baby or put him to sleep with loose blankets that can wrap around the face.
Side or Stomach position:
When your baby is fussy, you might find that they calm down faster if you hold them in your arms on their stomach or in a side position. If you are putting them to sleep in a crib, however, remember to put your baby down to sleep on their back only. This has been found to reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
This is really magic for some babies! When your baby is crying, make shushing sounds - louder than they baby's crying - or turn on a hair dryer nearby but blowing air away from the baby. You can also buy a CD of these white noise sounds that you can play for your fussy baby or to help them sleep.
Babies love motion like rocking chairs and going for walks. Try wearing your baby in a cloth sling or baby holder. When your little one gets upset, hold them close, supporting their head, and try a little dancing. Fussy babies love tiny, jiggly movements.
Finally, try Sucking:
Babies love to suck. Offer your crying baby the breast, a finger, or a pacifier.
To learn more about these soothing tips, visit Dr. Karp at www.thehappiestbaby.com