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How to soothe a crying baby

Your baby can't use language yet. So crying is the way your baby lets you know that something is wrong and he or she needs your help, but it isn't always easy to know why babies cry. It might be your baby's temperament. Or your baby could be hungry. Or hot. Or cold. The list is long.

When it's after midnight and you've been up for hours (or is it days?) with a crying baby, it doesn't matter whether you label it colic or just a bad night. The important thing is to be able to comfort your troubled little one. Fortunately, a number of home remedies and products exist that may help you calm your infant. Although no remedy works for every crying baby all the time, you may find that the following suggestions give much-needed relief for baby and you.

How to soothe a crying baby: Soothing sounds

Just as loud noises like thunder or a popping balloon can make your baby cry, soothing sounds may be able to calm your infant and stop the crying. During the nine months your baby spent in the womb, he or she became very accustomed to the constant sound of your heartbeat. Because of this, many babies are comforted by monotonous background noise, especially sounds that mimic the sound of the womb.

You may find that your baby is comforted by listening to a white noise machine, a recording of a heartbeat, or even the whirring sounds of household appliances like dishwashers or washing machines. If there is a particular sound that seems to comfort your crying baby, consider making a recording of the sound to play when your baby is upset.

Babies also like to hear the voices of people they love. Experiment with singing your baby a gentle lullaby or quietly humming as you hold baby to help stop the tears.

How to soothe a crying baby: Gripe water

Gripe water is an age-old remedy for colic that contains dill seed oil and sodium bicarbonate.

These formulas may help settle the baby's stomach or help relax cramping muscles. Gripe water must not be given to babies under one month old or to those suffering from allergies to the ingredients. Seek medical advice if you are unsure.

How to soothe a crying baby: Mellow movement

Has your baby ever stopped crying after you picked him or her up and walked around? If so, you've experienced the benefits of mellow movement.

Many crying babies are comforted by smooth, rhythmic movement, such as being rocked in a rocking chair, hammock, or infant swing. It can also be useful to take your crying baby for a walk in a buggy or for a drive. Just be sure the baby is safely strapped into an appropriately fitted car seat.

The amount of movement that is soothing varies from child to child. So you may need to try different things to see what works for your baby. Some parents have found that holding their child on top of a gently vibrating appliance, such as a dishwasher or dryer, can be helpful in some instances. If you try this method, make sure you always have a tight hold on your baby so he or she can't fall off and get hurt.

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