Soothing Your Crying Infant

Babies cry one to four hours a day. Sometimes they cry because they are hungry, tired, have a dirty diaper or just want to be held. Sometimes babies cry for no known reason. Many babies cry more in the early evening — just when you're trying to have dinner. Babies cry the most when they are between 6 to 8 weeks old.

When your baby is crying, you can try:

  • Changing your baby's diaper
  • Changing his or her clothes or blankets to see if your baby is too hot or cold
  • Feeding your baby to see if he or she is hungry
  • Checking your baby for anything that might cause pain, like an open diaper pin

If your baby keeps crying, you may want to:

  • Rock your baby in a rocking chair or swing
  • Gently stroke your baby's head
  • Try offering your baby a pacifier
  • Take your baby for a walk or a ride in the car
  • Give your baby a warm bath
  • Play soft music
  • Ask a friend or relative to help you

If Your Baby Continues to Cry

Babies are exposed to many new sights, sounds, touches, tastes and smells, and sometimes this is overwhelming for them. Crying is the only way babies have to release tension. Your baby may be telling you that he or she needs to be left alone. Try swaddling your baby snugly in a blanket and lay him or her in a crib in a quiet, dark room. Allow your baby to cry for 10 to 15 minutes. Often your baby will fall asleep or will quiet down when you pick him or her up. You may need to go to another room and shut the door during this time, but remember you are not being mean to your baby by allowing him or her some time to cry. Also, remember to consider whether your baby might be sick.

Your baby's crying is not an indication that you are a bad parent. However, if you feel like you might accidentally hurt your baby, please call (415) 441-KIDS or your baby's pediatrician immediately. Never shake your baby. Shaking or spanking a baby can cause serious injury or death.

 

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.