Babies don’t have the words to tell us what they want, and sometimes knowing what to do can be tough.
But never fear - our parenting hacks will help you to be able to cope with crying.
- Seeing if baby needs a nappy change
- Cuddling or carrying baby
- Try stroking your baby's back firmly and rhythmically, holding them against you
- Checking baby’s temperature
- Baby might be too hot or too cold
- Feeding baby when they are hungry
- Babies usually prefer to be fed on demand than to a schedule. They will cry when they are hungry!
- Rocking baby in a pram or cradle
- Going for a walk with the pram
- It might be good for you to get a breath of fresh air as well
- Taking baby on a car or bus ride
- Rhythm and movement can help baby to feel calm
- Singing, playing soft music or talking gently
- But some babies may prefer rock, folk or pop!
- Playing white noise
- Such as a vacuum cleaner or washing machine
- Moving to a calm space
- If baby is overtired or overstimulated, try moving somewhere dark with not too much to look at.
These are just a few helpful hints, but remember all babies are different – it is just as much about finding what works best for you and your baby.
We asked parents in Suffolk what they do to settle their babies, here’s what they said:
Keep Calm and try ‘Donking’
“I’ve passed this simple but effective tip on to various mothers or partners of Mums who were minding a baby while the baby’s Mum was in an outpatient appointment in the hospital. I was a secretary working close to the waiting area. If a newborn was crying persistently and I felt the person was friendly and receptive, I passed on this tip handed down from my Grandmother, who lived in Fressingfield, but had been a maid in a large house in London and was of Italian descent.
"It is a simple technique and she called it “donking”. Instead of rocking the baby or jiggling the baby, hold the baby gently but snuggly against your body and with toes still on the floor, lift your left heel and let it fall, then repeat with right heel, alternating feet in a soothing rhythm. It worked immediately with many of the people I suggested it to and helped with my babies too, although I will say that a colicky baby is not easily soothed!"
Join the conversation
Share your parenting hacks with other parents – email firstname.lastname@example.org and your top tips can be shared on this page. You can also share your tips on social media, using the hashtag #ParentingHacksSuffolk
Don’t forget, friends or relatives looking after baby will also want to know what works well – be sure to let them in on your own Parenting Hacks!
Babies are constantly learning how to communicate with you and whilst they do not yet have the words to tell us what they want, some say there is a baby language that we can understand!
As you get to know your new baby, you may be able to see that baby wants something before they start to cry. Look out for the ways your baby behaves just before they cry and learn how to soothe them before things get bad.
All babies are different, and their cues may change over time, but here are a few tell-tale signs to look out for:
Ear pulling = may mean tiredness
Hiccuping = may mean tiredness
Gaze aversion = may mean tiredness/over stimulation
Pulling up legs = can often be a reflex action when a baby is upset!
Going red = may mean crying for too long/overheated
Blue outline to lips = may mean trapped wind
Sticking tongue out/rooting/putting fingers in their mouth = may mean hunger
As well as physical cues, babies can give up to five verbal cues as well, which may indicate crying is near! The sounds to look out for are:
The "NEH" sound = may mean hunger.
The "OW" sound = may mean tiredness.
The “HEH” sound = may mean discomfort - it may be that baby’s nappy needs changing, they are too hot, or too cold.
The “EH” sound = may mean baby needs to be burped.
The “EAIR” sound = may mean lower gas - try massaging or using colic holds to remove air bubbles.
Did you know?
Many studies have shown that during the first few months of life, a baby's crying follows a developmental pattern. This pattern is called the crying curve. Crying begins to increase at two or three weeks of age, peaks at around 2 months, and gradually declines to the age of 5 months.
Prolonged, inconsolable and unpredictable episodes of crying that cluster in the evening occur only during the first few months after birth.
You are not alone
Don’t forget you can ask for help when you need it, whether it’s from family or friends. Talking to a family member or a friend always helps, and if they are able to look after baby it can give you a welcome break.
You can also talk to your health visitor, midwife, local children’s centre or GP. If there’s a baby and toddler group near you, it could be a great place to swap advice and get support from people in the same situation as you.
Where to get support
The following helplines and websites offer support and advice about child care, including crying or if your baby's not sleeping:
Family Lives: 0808 800 2222
Cry-Sis: 08451 228 669
If you are worried that your baby is crying differently to usual, or is unwell, call NHS 111 for non-urgent advice, or in an emergency dial 999.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can contact the Suffolk Mind helpline on 0300 111 6000. They can support your emotional wellbeing.