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How To Calm A Crying/Screaming Baby

Written by Tiffany H

1) Swaddle. Tightly. Arms down at sides. Be gentle, be firm. They WILL scream louder – keep swaddling. Do it.

2) Bounce. Turn baby on his/her side in your arms, hold body securely, let head jiggle slightly. Use an exercise ball, muscles or the spring in your step.

3) Shushing/white noise. Have hubby (or you) shush as loud as baby is crying/screaming. Close to the ear. Keep going at volume he (or she) is. If you can’t go that loud, quickly find a white noise app on your smartphone, pay the well-worth-it 99 cents, and turn up the volume. Or worst case scenario (or do this first if you happen to be close to one) race to the bathroom and turn on the hairdryer. (Do NOT use it on baby, only for the noise the motor makes).

4) If you’re still needing help, bounce some more.

5) Pacify! Boob, finger, pacifier. Use any of the above. Shamelessly. It works.

Didn’t it work?

With these steps we have been able to calm the fussiest of babies – ours. 😉

Why did I write it like this? 1) Because on Day 2 of our son’s life, when suddenly our happy, cooperative, quiet baby turned into Godzilla on steroids and sugar (slight exaggeration), we were frantically searching online and through baby books praying to find some wisdom from parents of the past. Oh, and it just so happened to be the day my hormones crashed, so poor hubby was dealing with TWO crying babies. 😛 2) I still have a baby. It’s easy to forget these steps in the heat of said baby fury fuss. I will be bookmarking this page. And probably linking it to my desktop. Ha.

I feel your pain, new mama, new daddy, so here are the instructions simplified and in corresponding order. Feel free to do them in different order, however, always swaddle first, at least up to 3 months.

There are other reasons why your baby might be fussy all the time. I’m still learning them myself, but have found several that really make a difference with my baby. I’ll share them later in another post. 😉

Also, new mama, new daddy, it does get better. I promise. My midwife, my doula, my sister-in-law, mother-in-law and lots of other mamas in my life gave me looks and/or hugs (or texts) of empathy hearing about my 23 hours a day of screaming and promised it gets better. I’m here to tell you they didn’t lie to me. It took a little time, but each day I could see a bit of improvement, a light at the end of the tunnel. Remember to DAILY, even moment by moment, notice the improvements and the sweet qualities of your baby. They are so precious and such wonderful blessings to watch grow.

UPDATE: It took us a LONG time, due to medical ignorance and our lack of knowledge in the area, but at about 9 months we finally figured out that Baby Boy had a tongue AND lip tie that was causing severe nursing issues for me and incredible fussiness and discomfort for him. I wrote about it in this post, and I highly, HIGHLY recommend seeing a pediatric dentist who knows how to check for them ASAP if you also are having trouble with a screaming, fussing baby (or nursing issues!).

Share your baby whispering secrets below! We all need to fill our arsenals. 😉

About the author

Tiffany H

Hi! I'm Tiffany, mama to the handsomest little boy and sweetest little girl, and wife to the best man ever. I love my Savior, being a housewife, mama and personal 'bakist' to the hubby, living naturally, and making real food taste yummy. I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into my crazy, happy life. Join me on the journey, let's get to know each other!

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  • Hi Tiffany, I’m not a new Mom but a great grandmother to a nearly six month old baby. Her Mommy and daddy came here yesterday as she had been screaming for hours and all of them were so upset and very distressed. It has been happening for a week or so now although she had been a settled little chatterbox of a baby up until then with only occasional crying. A 4 and 1/2 weeks prem baby of a good weight, she soon showed signs of distress and needed help with breathing, feeding and her bowels for a week in NICU. She never really opened her eyes or entered this world until she was two months old, being a little curled up bundle that would rather have still been inside her Mom’s womb. I didn’t think about the swaddling last night and we played lullabies but the white noise sounds better. She finally went to sleep with a long walk in her pram in the cool of the evening but had worn herself and her parents out by that stage. Her cries were not of hunger or pain or of anger as her young Mom called it but sheer distress as if she couldn’t stop herself once she started. I will definitely be telling her parents about your methods. Thank you.

    • Hi Angela! Oh my heart goes out to you and those poor young parents! They are so blessed to have you. I definitely would encourage you to step in when you can and give them even a little break now and again. I know it’s so, soooo hard to have an inconsolable, screaming baby. It can make you feel crazy – frustrated, emotional, helpless, exhausted, angry, all kinds of messy emotions that only are amplified with lack of sleep. Sending you all huge hugs! I also have some serious thoughts/concerns regarding the timeline of when this all started, so please look out for an email from me. God bless you all, Tiffany