Crying baby - trust your instincts

A crying baby can be really exhausting and draining, especially in the early days. As a parent, it can be easy to feel as though we have failed when we are unable to soothe a crying baby when actually this is not the case. As babies do not have the luxury of vocabulary, their way of communication can be through crying and distress. It is their way of letting us know that they need something from us. All babies cry and some may cry more often than not. There can be various reasons as to why they are distressed and the most common reasons are:

  • they may be hungry
  • they could have a dirty or wet nappy
  • they may be tired or want a cuddle
  • it may be wind or something else just as uncomfortable
  • they may be too hot or too cold
  • it could be boredom or they have been overstimulated through play
  • they may also be overtired 



Although there are various techniques, you may find your own ways of soothing your baby that is individual to you and your baby.  You know your baby best and will find out what is best for your family. Try different methods and perhaps speak to friends and family about methods they may have tried and tested.  It is essential to listen to your instincts and respond to your baby in a way that feels comfortable for you.  The following are further tips you can use:-

  • If your baby has a dummy or another comforter, use this as a way of soothing them. 
  • If you are breastfeeding, they may need to go on your breast for comfort.
  • Hold your baby and gently sway and quietly soothe them with a lullaby or just talk to them.
  • You could use their pram and push them back and forth.
  • You may want to go out for a walk or a drive.
  • You could distract them with a toy, music, or mobile above their cot
  • Try stroking your baby’s back firmly and rhythmically, holding them against you or lying face downwards on your lap. 
  • You could also massage them gently with baby oil in a warm room.
  • Try a warm bath as this might help calm your baby

Further support 

If you do feel stressed out by the crying, it is important to get in touch with us straightaway for emotional support and advice. You can call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222, email us at or talk to us online. You may find it helpful to read this advice on crying babies from Bounty. NCT has advice on keeping calm with a crying babyFamily Lives would always recommend that you get in touch with your Health Visitor or GP for advice. 

Watch this video for tips on soothing a crying baby

This page was updated on March 2021

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