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Methods for Soothing Your Crying Baby

Unless your baby is crying because she is hungry or tired, you can try a number of different methods to soothe her.

Rocking motions are very calming. Hold your baby close while rocking-about one rock per second seems an ideal speed-in a rocking chair. Walking with your baby in your arms also provides her with the sensation of rocking. Do vigorous knee bends while holding your baby. Gently bounce her up and down in your arms. Or ask her to slow dance with you.


A young baby needs head support to sit up in a swing. So roll up a baby blanket and place it behind your baby's neck.

A baby carrier or sling can help if your arms get too tired to carry your baby any longer. But be forewarned: your baby may not like it as much if the carrier places a barrier between you and her.

You might also want to try taking her for a ride in her stroller or the car. The rhythmic swaying may soothe her to sleep. Or try rocking your baby in a cradle or a baby swing.

Certain sounds can calm your baby, too. Anything that provides a loud, steady whir or hum, such as a dishwasher, a washing machine, a hair dryer, a fan, or a vacuum cleaner, may remind your baby of the wash of sounds within the womb. The constant purr of a car engine-especially because it couples soothing sounds with calming motion-is especially effective in pacifying a crying baby. Soft music with a steady rhythm or a tape of heart sounds from within the womb may also soothe your baby.

Your voice is naturally soothing to your baby, too. Talk gently and calmly to your baby. You may find that she likes it even more when you adopt a sing-song voice. Try singing a lullaby or other song to her. Don't worry whether or not you can carry a tune; your baby won't care.

You've Really Got a Hold on Me

Whatever method you find works best to calm your baby, it will almost always begin with holding. Hold your baby close, with his head against your chest. That way, your baby hears the soothing sound of your heartbeat as he snuggles into the warmth of your body. Often, just holding your baby reduces his cries to snuffles. If not, it's still a good starting place to find out what is causing the crying. Whether you feed your baby, walk with him, rock him, talk to him, or play with him, it all begins with picking him up and holding him.

More on: Babies


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby © 1997 by Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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