How to Calm a Crying Baby

calm a crying baby

by Pamela Redmond Satran

There are lots of articles, books, products, and videos that promise to teach you how to calm a crying baby. Many of them work…sometimes.

And then there are those times when nothing seems to work, no matter how many crazy things you try. Here’s a minute-by-minute playbook of those real-life times:

2:01 P.M. Baby goes down for nap. Husband takes 3-year-old and dog to park so you can rest. House completely quiet for first time since baby was born.

2:03 Baby starts crying. You calmly and gently pick her up and say in a soft, soothing voice, “It’s okay, sweetie. Mommy’s here.”

2:05 Hold her firmly against your body, rocking to bring up any uncomfortable air bubbles.

2:07 While supporting her with your left hand, tenderly rub her back with your right hand.

2:18 Walk around the house with an exaggerated bounce, singing Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.”

2:22 Walk faster.

2:25 Sing louder.

2:31 Finally locate one of the 36 pacifiers strategically placed around the house, which baby immediately spits out of reach behind the sofa.

2:33 Scream “Honey!” Then remember the park. What made him think he was doing you a favor?

2:34 Time to nurse!

2:59 Still nursing.

3:27 Still nursing.

3:32 Though your breast is still technically in her mouth, the baby is lightly snoring and lies heavily, maybe even sleepily in your arms.

3:39 Lean impossibly far over until you reach the pacifier behind the sofa. Pop it in your own mouth for a second to wash it, then maneuver it into position three inches from baby’s still-suckling mouth.

3:41 Simultaneously remove your breast from her mouth and pop in pacifier. Success!

3:44 Holding breath, tiptoe to crib and set baby down in one gentle, seamless motion. Exhale. She cries.

3:45 Decide that this time you’re really going to tough it out. Letting her cry will make you a good mother, not a bad one! Leave the nursery with your heart full of resolve. Cower outside the door.

3:46 Note how long you’ve let her cry. A baby shouldn’t be left to cry alone for more than 10 or 15 minutes. Time passes. She’s crying so hard she might choke! She’ll need years of psychotherapy!

3:46:38 Rush to crib.

3:47 Maybe she’s wet. She’s not, but changing seems to calm her down. Build on it. Give here a sponge bath; dress her; groom all five hairs.

4:11 As soon as you snap the last snap, she poops. A huge one. Despite the mess, you’re relieved. This must be what made her wail.

4:27 She’s clean, dressed—time for a walk! Sure enough, as soon as that carriage starts bumping along the sidewalk, she’s serene. You stop and buy a magazine and head home to sit quietly, baby sleeping at your side, in the yard.

4:56 Park the carriage in the shade, start to lower yourself into a chair. As you hit the seat, she wails.

4:58 Walk, walk, walk. Rock, rock, rock. Stop. Screams.

5:07 Go inside. Walk, walk, walk. Rock, rock, rock. Stop. Screams.

5:14 Go to basement. Put crying baby in infant seat atop dryer. Turn dryer on. Baby’s more cheerful than she’s been all day. Until you pick up infant seat.

5:26 Carry crying baby upstairs in infant seat. Set seat with baby on floor and begin to vacuum. Baby calms. Turn off vacuum. Screams.

5:37 Sink to floor, start sobbing yourself.

5:38 In midsob, realize baby is quiet. She’s smiling! She chortles at a light patch on the ceiling.

5:39 Lie on floor beside baby seat and breathe deeply in the silence.

5:40 The door opens. Husband, child, and dog are home. Husband, “exhausted,” needs some “alone time.” Child “wants Mommy.” Dog barks. Baby smiles, sighs, and falls asleep.

Nameberry recommends:

When nothing else works, Nameberry readers recommend these products that may help soothe your baby to sleep:

Nursing Pillow

The My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow comes recommended by one Nameberry mom, who says, “This is the best money I spent on anything breastfeeding related. It clips on, so you can get up and adjust things without dropping the pillow. It has a pocket to keep a snack or your phone, and it is really comfy and easy to clean. Because it goes all the way around, your back gets supported too.” Buy from Amazon, about $40. 

Night Pacifier

MAM glow-in-the-dark pacifiers are made for infants under six months and are best for breast-fed babies. Orthodontic nipples help healthy development of baby’s mouth. Buy two for $6 from Amazon.

Soothing Doll

The Lulla Doll is a soft toy that replicates the sounds of the womb — heartbeat and breathing —  to calm your baby all night long. While it’s price-y — about $85 on Amazon — and the Lulla doesn’t work for every baby, many parents swear by it and claim it’s soothing for children from newborn to toddler. Buy from Amazon, about $85.

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6 Responses to “How to Calm a Crying Baby”

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wandsworth Says:

August 13th, 2018 at 7:27 am

As if the pop-up ads on the site weren’t intrusive enough, now we’re being hassled with ads in blog posts too?

Selkit Says:

August 13th, 2018 at 9:24 am

I thought this was a names website, not a how-to-baby site…

IslandMoon Says:

August 13th, 2018 at 9:32 am

This is such a strange little post, I’m almost amused. I mean, I suppose at least the items weren’t as overly expensive as the last time. I do think you should stick to names though, nameberry, surely you must know that a large proportion of the regular, long term users of this website aren’t parents, or are parents of older children, and what you might buy for a nursery, or a crying newborn.

But then I suppose if this is how your getting your money now to run the website, I guess I prefer this than the frequent full screen adverts I was getting for a while.

Pam Says:

August 13th, 2018 at 1:25 pm

Hey everyone — This is supposed to be fun and a bit different for the many readers of the site who are expectant and new parents and have asked for more general baby content. But rest assured that most of our posts will still be about names.

AldabellaxWulfe Says:

August 13th, 2018 at 1:29 pm

I come here for names, not weird advertisements. Also, if you’re nursing, you shouldn’t introduce a pacifier/dummy for at least 6 weeks, otherwise it can confuse the baby’s latch and cause breastfeeding issues. Also, I know they’re marketed like crazy but if you’re nursing then you really don’t need a dummy.

tfzolghadr Says:

August 13th, 2018 at 4:15 pm

The MAM glow in the dark pacifiers saved my life. I kinda like that Nameberry is switching things up a bit, although it would be impossible for me to buy most of these products where I live…

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