Inside: Are you struggling to stay calm when your baby cries? Whether you have a typical fussy baby or colicky baby, use our tips to keep your cool when your baby just won’t stop crying!
To a new mom, it may come as a bit of shock when your baby won’t stop crying throughout the day.
For some reason, we think a fed, changed, or tired baby should be calm and even ready to fall asleep.
When our babies fuss the second we place them in a crib and try to tip-toe away, it can be exhausting. Then when the fussing turns into incessant cries, we naturally feel stressed and frustrated.
Why you should expect your new baby to cry…often.
We have this illusion that babies will sleep all of the time…(maybe it’s that phrase “sleep like a baby” that gets it so wrong!).
While many babies do sleep for longer chunks as they grow, each individual baby follows a different path. Initially, during the newborn phase, you will find baby sleeping a lot throughout the day, but also waking frequently — mostly for feedings and changings.
And this is normal.
As your baby grows and experiences new stages – developmental leaps or regressions – they are bound to sleep for longer or shorter periods. This may drive you a little crazy at first…feeling like a zombie, exhausted from the short cat-naps throughout the day. So it’s important to take this newborn phase in stride and learn that it will not last forever.
Reasons babies cry
Do you know the biggest reasons your baby is crying? I wrote a post a few years ago, outlining the very top reasons for crying to help other new moms decipher those incessant cries. Because as hard as we try, we don’t always get it right.
I remember several times with my first baby boy, thinking he was just hungry…when in reality, I learned that he was crying due to gas issues or simply being overtired. It really opened my eyes and helped me avoid feeling like a complete failure when I was exhausting all of my efforts to soothe him.
If most of baby’s basic needs have been met, colic could also be a culprit and you should talk to your pediatrician further.
How to Stay Calm When Baby Won’t Stop Crying
If you’re worried about how to handle your baby when they won’t stop crying or appear colicky, these tips to help you keep your cool are a great start.
Start to Learn the Cries
Over time you’ll start to decipher the different cries to better understand what they actually mean. These cries will sound slightly different based on hunger, exhaustion or some other need. While every baby sounds the same to you now, you’ll start to learn what your baby’s non-stop crying is about as you continue forward being a new mom.
During that first year of new motherhood, your hormones are trying to get back to normal. This means it’s completely possible that your crying baby makes you feel like lashing out in anger. But yelling or screaming isn’t going to solve anything and it will probably startle your baby more.
To stay calm with a crying baby, try to breathe through those feelings, assuring yourself that it’s simply hormones making you feel this way. A simple, slow countdown from 10 to 1 can work wonders in the heat of the moment.
Rock Your Baby
Consider having a rocking chair or glider in your home. When your baby won’t stop crying you can pick them up, cuddle them and rock gently in the rocker. I absolutely loved my rocker for times like these — I still own to this day (7 years old!). This rhythm may help calm your baby down and it will help you remain calm during this process of trying to get your baby to stop crying. Just be certain that you don’t fall asleep rocking your baby.
Music therapy is something that many people are starting to use to help stay calm and focused in other areas of life. Music therapy can work really well at helping you to stay calm when a baby won’t stop crying. Have a playlist ready for those restless nights so that you can have music in your ears while dealing with your fussy baby. The music can help you stay calm, and if you play it out loud it may help soothe your baby to sleep too.
One of the BEST tips recommended to me as a new mom when you’re baby won’t stop crying and you’re ready to pull out your hair is to simply step away for a few minutes.
Make sure you’re baby is in a safe spot, in their crib without blankets or toys and close the door.
It’s OKAY to do this.
Even though it may pull at your heartstrings or feel terrible, a few minutes to regain your cool before handling a crying baby is so important. A pediatrician gave me an excellent piece of advice about stepping away from a crying baby for a few minutes.
He said, “No baby ever died from too much crying.”
As harsh as it may sound, it is quite true. You never want to harm an innocent child from stress or lack of self-care for mom. Take a minute when you need to. Your baby will be fine, if safely in their crib while you regain your composure.
This Too Shall Pass
Lastly, if you truly want to try another way to stay calm when baby cries then you must remind yourself that this will pass. This phase in motherhood doesn’t last forever. Keep your cool, try some of the recommendations I shared above and continue staying focused on the fact that this is just a phase that your baby is going through. In time they’ll learn to self-soothe and the endless crying will cease.
Remember, a baby who continuously cries could be experiencing a developmental change. The excess crying may just be part of the process.
On the other hand, a baby may simply want to be held and close to you — remember your body was the source of comfort to them for the last 9 months in utero! And some babies simply want more cuddles than other babies. They’ll continue to cry until picked up and cuddled.
So it’s okay if you pick them up…but it’s also okay to let them cry it out for a few minutes (I’m not a big proponent of the cry-it-out method, but from years of dealing with crying babies, I understand how important it is to find a balance).
The biggest thing to remember when your baby won’t stop crying is that they’re trying to communicate a need with you. And although figuring out what that need is can be rather stressful for a new mom, it’s a great reminder that your little one isn’t doing this to stress you out.
I hope these tips for dealing with a crying baby remind you that you are not alone and are a good mom. If you’re still feeling worn out from dealing with a baby who won’t stop crying, there’s nothing wrong with calling a friend, family member or your partner in to help a little with your baby so that you can get some much-needed rest. Because it really does take a village.
Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.