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How to Soothe a Crying Baby: Mellow Motions, Gripe Water, and Other Remedies

How to Soothe a Crying Baby: Mellow Motion

Has your baby ever stopped crying after you picked him up and walked around? If so, you've experienced the fuss-busting benefits of mellow motion.

Many crying babies are comforted by smooth, rhythmic motion, 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 stroller or for a car ride. Just be sure that 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 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 can't fall off and get hurt.

How to Soothe a Crying Baby: Comforting Contact

After nine months in a warm, dark environment, the world can seem like a scary place to a newborn.

In some cases, mimicking the position your baby was in throughout your pregnancy will help calm your crying baby. Swaddling your baby by wrapping her snugly in a blanket is one way to simulate the conditions in the womb -- where your baby did not have a lot of room to move around.

Gently patting your baby on the back in a regular rhythm or heartbeat pattern is another way you can help create a womb-like environment. Or try lying down with your baby against your side or keeping your child close to your body in an infant sling as you walk around. These familiar positions may help your baby feel more comfortable and secure.

A warm bath may also help comfort your crying baby. Many newborn infants enjoy the feel of warm water against their skin.

Putting it all together: The 5 S's to Soothe Crying Babies

It may be that the best way to soothe your crying baby is by employing a number of the above techniques, or using different ones depending on why your baby is upset.

Pediatrician Harvey Karp, MD, recommends using the 5 S's -- a combination of fuss-busting techniques -- as the most effective way to comfort a crying baby. This method may help create a womb-like environment and address your child's most basic needs.

The five S's include:

  • Swaddling
  • Side/stomach soothing (laying your baby on her side/stomach)
  • "Shhhing" sounds
  • Swinging
  • Sucking (nursing your crying baby or give him a pacifier)

Regardless of which techniques you try, remember that your baby is more likely to stop crying if you remain calm. If you feel as if you are unable to cope with your child's crying or if there is any chance you might hurt your child out of frustration or desperation, be sure to call for help immediately.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on May 22, 2012
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