Resources for Parents

What should I do when my baby cries?

All newborns cry. Yours will too. It's just a normal and natural expression. It doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. Your new baby is just saying that he needs you. Of course, everyone wants to do something to stop the crying. Here are hints to ease and stop tears. Remember, nothing is foolproof. What works today may or may not work tomorrow.

You'll soon learn the meaning of different cries. Babies cry when they're trying to call for you, to let off steam, or just to exercise. Check to see if your baby is hungry or needs something, perhaps a diaper change. Your baby may be uncomfortable or want to be with you, or be placed in a different position. He may be tired or bored, or want to be moved to another room.


See what he needs. You cannot spoil him by picking him up when he is crying. Always respond quickly to your baby's cries, and he will learn to trust and feel loved. The longer he cries, the longer it will take to settle him down.

Infants may fuss one to four hours a day. Babies cry less as they learn other ways to communicate with you and comfort themselves (for example, by sucking their fingers). If your baby is a heavy fusser and you have trouble comforting him, you may wish to talk with your doctor. Certain foods can make a baby fussy. Sometimes it helps breastfeeding mothers to cut back on foods such as chocolate, onions, garlic, caffeinated drinks and milk products. For breastfed or formula-fed babies, it may help to have a nurse watch and make suggestions about the way the baby is fed. Something else may be upsetting him, so always ask your doctor before changing formula.


Here are some ways to sooth your baby:

  • Soften the lights; keep it quiet and handle him gently. Babies are sensitive to bright lights, loud noise and sudden movements.
  • Rock your baby. Babies find gentle movement calming. It may even put them to sleep. Hold him in a rocking chair. Walk and dance with your baby. Take him for a ride in the stroller or car, in an approved infant seat.
  • Sing a lullaby. Talk or sing in a quiet, singsong way, or play soft, peaceful music.
  • Your tender touch works wonders. Put your baby in a soft, front carrier, close to your body. He likes to be with you. Lay him tummy-down on your lap and gently pat his back. Massage your baby's body lightly, using warm lotion in cold weather. Or, wrap him snugly, and place him over your left side so he hears your heartbeat. Breathe slowly. He will feel your calm and quiet down.