My Baby Won’t Stop Crying! 10 Ways to Cope with a Crying Baby

crying-baby_cartoon

My Baby Won’t Stop Crying! 10 Ways to Cope with a Crying Baby

Dr. Robyn Silverman

We’ve all been there.  The baby is crying and you don’t know what to do next. It doesn’t matter how many children you’ve had, how much education you’ve experienced, or how many books you’ve read on the topic.  Crying still happens. It’s happened to me and I’m sure that it’s happened to Dr. Sears and Dr. Spock too. All babies cry no matter how “good” of a parent you are!

It’s OK to admit it. Sometimes you wonder how you keep from throwing yourself out the window and leaving your baby on the neighbor’s doorstep with a note. She just won’t stop crying! Yes, of course you would never actually do such a thing! You love the baby, you just want to stop that loud noise coming from her mouth and you don’t know what to do. She’s so fussy and you feel like a failure–the worst parent in the world. You didn’t sign up for this—you never knew it would be like this. Your patience is shattered and you don’t know what to do.

  1. First, stop. Just stop. Your baby is screaming but you’re all wound up too! Stop for a moment and collect yourself. After all, you are an adult. The baby…is a baby. Crying is how babies communicate and right now, your baby is telling you something.
  2. Ask yourself the basics: Is my baby hungry? Tired? Wet? Cold? Hot? Sick? Gassy? Hurt? Teething? Bored? Overstimulated? Afraid? If you feel like you just fed your baby an hour ago and you can’t imagine that she’s hungry again, try it anyway. There are times when your baby is going through growth spurts and needs more than you might have originally thought. Burp her, check her temperature, change her diaper. Look for anything that might be irritating her. One of my closest friends told me a story about a baby who wouldn’t stop screaming and it turned out that he had a hair wound very tight around his finger. Be a detective instead of looking up and asking “why me?” Think outside of the box and go down your list of possibilities.
  3. Calm thyself: I’m aware this is easier said than done. Believe me, I’ve been there. I’ve spent 5 minutes counting down from 10 at least 50 times. Remind yourself to breathe. In and out. I tell our Powerful Words students, “smell the flowers, and blow away the clouds.” Try it. You can’t calm your baby is you are in a panic.
  4. Calm the baby: Try what you can. Bounce, dance, sway, sing, and hum. Speak in low tones. Use a pacifier, a bottle, or a swaddling technique. Divert her attention. Put her in a warm bath, give her a massage, hold her close. Bounce on an exercise ball with her or use the vibrating chair. Turn the lights down low, turn the TV down low, put nice soft music on the radio. Try something you’ve used before and try things you haven’t used before.
  5. Walk away for a moment: If it gets so bad that you need a moment to collect yourself, put your child in a safe place, like his crib, and walk away for a minute. Calm yourself down. Call a friend. Talk yourself off a ledge. Then get back in there and be the parent you know you can be. Your baby needs you.
  6. Know your limits: Need help? Ask for it. If it gets to be too much and you are at your breaking point, call your Mom, call your neighbor, call your best friend. Call a hotline if nobody else is around (crying baby hotline is 1 866 243 2229). Ask for help. Ask for what you need—a helping hand, a word of encouragement, some ideas. Someone else who has already gone through this before can be a great source of support and information. You want to keep your head about yourself so you are gentle with your baby and you refrain from shaking him in a fit of frustration. If you are at this point, get help immediately.
  7. Go with your gut: If you believe that something is wrong and you can’t fix it, call the doctor. Describe what’s going on and get some sound advice. If you really think about it, you know when your child is fussy or gassy versus sick or hurt. Listen to the cries and go with your instinct.
  8. Support yourself: Tell yourself, “I know I can do this.” Remind yourself that others have dealt with these problems before and survived. Refrain from berating yourself for not knowing enough or doing something that upset your baby. You need yourself to be a friend right now—not an enemy.
  9. Get ongoing support: Join a mom’s group or a dad’s group where you can talk about helpful tips, your doubts and your frustrations. Other parents have gone through what you are going through. I know I value mine! Talk to your doctor about what’s been going on as well as any patterns that have developed. Could your child have reflux? Colic? Another problem? You don’t have to do this alone. Reach out for support.
  10. Remember the phase: Even though it’s really challenging, babies cry. Sometimes they do it a lot! But, as we know, your child will not do this forever. I know that 15 minutes can feel like it though. In a blink of an eye, your child will be going off to school and you won’t believe that he was once that crying baby that made you doubt your parenting abilities and your own sanity. This is just a moment in time and as my Mom always told me, “this too shall pass.”

Any other tips out there, parents? Please share!

I know right now it might be difficult to enjoy every moment. But as many Moms and Dads that have gone before you, you’ll get through it. You can do it. We know you can!

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

photo thanks to crunchiemummy.wordpress.com

Facebook comments:

13 replies
  1. Jim
    Jim says:

    Thanks for this. I have a two year-old daughter already but my wife is due with our second in 7 weeks so it’s a good reminder.

    I always found myself getting into panic mode because I “had to fix” whatever was wrong. It took awhile to realize that sometimes babies just cry and it’s not as much of an emergency as the baby makes it sound.

  2. Jason
    Jason says:

    Thanks alot sure helped and yah i left the room for 1/2 hour and bang he’s a sleep hes 1 years old and a good sleep fighter. Thanks for the advice i will keep it.
    Jason

  3. Ingiany
    Ingiany says:

    I’ve tried sooo many things but nothing seem to help I mean he cries alot all day and it’s exhausting I can’t do anything I can barely eat and I just don’t want him to cry anymore and I try my hardest to make him stop an he does for like ten min and then goes back to crying what can I do?? I’m going to go insane……..:(

  4. DrRobyn
    DrRobyn says:

    Have you talked to a doctor? There can be so many reasons. My child, personally, was crying so much and it turned out she had reflux. Once we dealt with that, she was a totally different child. I suggest you talk to your doctor to explore different options and see if anything is going on besides the typical (cold, hot, hungry, wet, dirty, sleepy, etc). Does your child go to sleep for naps and bed at the same time each day? That could help too. (If sleep related, I suggest the book- Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child) Talk to your doc! They’re there to help you.

  5. Reader
    Reader says:

    Thank you! This was ver helpful to me.I am new to the mom world, I read many books and participated in programs but i just needed the reminder that my daughter is just a baby!

  6. DrRobyn
    DrRobyn says:

    Yes! I know. It’s hard to be a new Mommy! Just take a breath, take some time for you, and remember that your baby is brand new and knows no other way to communicate…

  7. Victoria
    Victoria says:

    I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. If there is someone else around he seems to be fine most of the time except when he gets sleepy. When I’m on my own with him he just wants to scream all the time. I lose track of when he last slept so I know as the day goes on he’s desparate to sleep but he screams from the moment he’s awake. The only way I can stop him crying is to take him on a walk in the pram but I can’t do that every time he needs a nap. I’m going insane. When it gets close to a feed time I let him eat but within 10 minutes of that he’s off again. Even if he just gave me 20 minutes to myself I would be so much calmer and feel I could cope better. I used to be able to laugh at his crying but now I just break down. I feel like a terrible mother. Everyone around me with babies seems to be coping. They all tell me how happy their babies are all the time. What am I doing wrong?

  8. DrRobyn
    DrRobyn says:

    Oh, Victoria. We all understand that feeling. So sorry you are having such a tough time. Babies, by 4 months, really do best with a very consistent sleep schedule. I recommend the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please read it. I followed that book to a T and it really worked extremely well for my kids. You can do it!

  9. brittany
    brittany says:

    My baby was so go never cried slept good for 6 weeks now she has a tooth coming in and she is so small that there isn’t a lot I can do and the pacifist would be fine if she didn’t spit it out every 2 mins so now she cries all day and night. No fever I feel so bad for her.

  10. DrRobyn
    DrRobyn says:

    Completely understand. It’s sad when it feels like there is nothing you can do. Just being a comfort, being understanding, and being patient can go a long way. Does your doc recommend Motrin? Some also like to use teething tablets (like, from Whole Foods). See what works best for your baby. Ask friends and ask your doc!

  11. Lance Enchainte
    Lance Enchainte says:

    I can’t stand it. Every time I come home, grandmom (my g/f’s mother) tells us that he has been good all day, no issues, happy as can be. As soon as we’re home, or after that first feed we give him in the evening, it’s hours of inconsolable crying. The simple things of life I just want to do, for 15 minutes, I can’t because he cries even more if we put him down. Last week I thought I had found a good method to calm him (belly to belly, sideways, head pointing towards my left, with his pacifier), and now that doesn’t even work. I literally banged my head against a wall two nights ago because I had become practically inconsolable. I’m usually a very calm guy, but when something is constant for hours, my patience and sanity wears thin.

    Seriously, him growing up can’t come soon enough. I don’t want to sound cold, but the “good times” of him smiling and being cute just don’t make up for my burnt out wits and nerves.

  12. Caitlin
    Caitlin says:

    I read this just as my daughter woke up AGAIN (3rd time in two hours) to cry.

    I go through the list each time of course — see if she’ll nurse, check her diaper, change how or where she is laying, walk her around, bounce, blanket or no blanket, does she want a paci, turn down/off the volume if the TV or computer is on something, talk to her/say SHH for a long, low time like a static sound…

    Today is not the first time she has just woken up to start crying and I can’t find anything wrong…for example, she nursed on both sides twice within an hour still acted upset after I checked other things so I even tried a little formula…kept crying, though. :(

    I handed her to my grandma, who couldn’t stop her either, so then my mom tried. And the reason I dislike her helping me so much is that when she is done, she brings her to me and says, “I told you I could do it,” or announces that the reason my daughter is being fussy is because I have not handed her off to her. This makes me feel…just bad.

    However, I get frustrated far less often than my daughter’s dad does…he’s the one who holds her up eye-to-eye and says in a louder voice than I’ve ever used around her at all, “I don’t know what you want,” or tells her to stop crying. So I take her at that point, tell him she’s just a baby and doesn’t know what else she can tell us, and set to work again with her.

    ~From a first time mom of a 16 day old.

  13. ChibiOkasan
    ChibiOkasan says:

    Going through it and really on here for a moment to vent out the fusteration. For the last week she’s been like this and the only thing I’ve found that works is try what you know and then walk away when you get fusterated. I’m at my ends meet and I’m in the “I don’t know what she wants.” phase. Weird since my son NEVER had this problem. I ALWAYS knew what he wanted. But my daughter is totally different. I fed her good, changed her, burpered her good, gave her gas drops just in case, orjel for teething…she’s not hot or cold holding her just leaves her screaming in my ear. UGH! I give up!!! Luckily she’s falling asleep now. Oi,oi,oi….yeah no fun. She’s got this attitude that if she wants to sleep she wants no noise, no movement and if you so much as do the wrong thing she’s up…this includes moving her to a quiet room. *sigh* luckily it’s just a phase…

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