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How to Soothe a Crying Baby

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Many crying babies are comforted by smooth, rhythmic movements, like being rocked in a rocking chair, hammock, or infant swing. Take your crying baby for a walk in a stroller or for a car ride -- just be sure she's safely strapped into her rear-facing car seat.

The amount of motion that is soothing varies from child to child. So you may need to try a few things to see what works best. Don’t place your child on top of a vibrating appliance, such as a dishwasher or dryer, because she could fall.

Comforting Contact

Some babies relax when they feel like they did in the womb. Wrap your baby snugly in a blanket, or gently pat her on the back in a pattern like a heartbeat. Lie down with her against your side, or keep her close to your body in an infant sling as you walk around. A warm bath may also help.

The 5 S's

Pediatrician Harvey Karp, MD, recommends using the 5 S's -- a combination of fuss-busting techniques -- to comfort a crying baby. This method may help create a safe, womb-like feeling.

The five S's include:

  • Swaddling
  • Side/stomach soothing (laying your baby on her side/stomach): Use this when your baby’s colicky, but don’t leave her unwatched. And never put baby to sleep on her side -- always lay her on her back.
  • "Shhhing" sounds
  • Swinging
  • Sucking (nursing your crying baby or give her a pacifier)

No matter which technique you try, remember that your baby is more likely to stop crying if you remain calm.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on May 26, 2014
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