How to Soothe a Crying Baby: Mellow Motions, Gripe Water, and Other Remedies
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.
Babies who regularly cry for more than three hours each day are said to have colic, a poorly understood condition that causes babies to cry excessively. There are many theories about what causes colic, including digestive problems, heightened sensitivity to light and sound, and individual temperament.
But 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, fussiness, 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 fuss-busters give much-needed relief to your 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, 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 love to hear the voices of people they love. Experiment with singing your baby a gentle lullaby or quietly humming to her as you hold her to help stop the tears.
How to Soothe a Crying Baby: Gripe Water
Gripe water is an age-old remedy for colic that was traditionally made at home using dill, bicarbonate, and alcohol. Now, most drug stores carry commercially available gripe waters that do not contain alcohol.
These formulas may also include herbs that settle the stomach or help relax cramping muscles, such as ginger, dill, and fennel. Although some small studies have demonstrated that gripe water can be effective for crying babies, it's important to recognize that gripe waters are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, there is a small chance that your infant could be allergic to one or more of the ingredients.