Caring for your crying baby - Better Lives Healthy Futures

Caring for your crying baby

All babies cry, and some more than others. Crying is your baby’s way of telling you they need comfort and care.
Mum and dad with new baby

Coping with a crying baby can be very hard, stressful and difficult. It can be very difficult to work out what they need. Babies start to cry frequently from around two weeks of age, some cry more than others. If you are worried your baby may be ill, always seek medical help.

Think also about how you will look after yourself whilst you are feeling tired and stressed. What support and help can you get? Speak to a family member or friend, your health visitor or GP, maybe you have a support worker you can talk to?

Babies cry, you can cope. These four ‘ICON’ steps will help:

I – Infant crying is normal

Babies cry for all sorts of reasons, so the first step is to know that infant crying is normal – it’s their way of getting your attention and it will stop.

C – Comfort your baby

Check whether your baby is uncomfortable. Are they hungry or do they need a nappy change? Cuddle your baby, calmly and gently interact with them. Try rocking them gently, walking with them safely held, play music or sing to them. Different things work for different babies.

The NSPCC’s Handle with Care information gives you ideas on how to hold your baby. Different babies like being held in different ways.

You can’t spoil a baby by giving them too many cuddles. Leaving them to cry for long periods of time won’t help them and will cause you more stress in the long-term. Getting angry will only add to the stress and your baby will react to this by crying more.

O – It’s okay to walk away (if you’ve checked your baby is safe)

Remember that your mental health is important too. If you’re feeling very stressed with crying, place your baby safely in the cot and leave the room. It’s okay to walk away after you’ve checked your baby is safe. Take some deep breaths to help you feel calm. After a few minutes when you are feeling calm, go back and check on your baby.

N- NEVER, ever shake or hurt a baby

Shaking or smacking a baby is never okay and is likely to cause serious, life changing damage or death.

If your baby has been shaken you MUST get medical help immediately. Do not delay.

The ICON website has helpful videos and advice for mums and dads about infant crying, comfort methods and the harm that shaking a baby can cause.


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Further information

How to keep calm with a crying baby

Keeping calm with a screaming baby is easier said than done. Tensions and emotions run high during those first few days, weeks and months. Watch this video for advice on how to cope with a crying baby and how to keep your tension levels down.

Soothing a crying baby

Your baby might just need some gentle soothing if they’re crying, using some of the techniques on this website. There’s also more information on what to do if your baby is constantly crying.

ICON leaflet

Infant crying and how to cope - this helpful leaflet, includes information about the CRY-SIS National Help Line as well as other useful advice if your baby is crying frequently.

Babies cry, you can cope

Useful advice and videos for parents on how long babies cry and what to do and not do when your baby cries.

Caring for your baby at night

Getting to know your new baby and learning how to care for their needs can be rewarding but challenging, especially when you are tired and your baby is wakeful and wanting to feed frequently during the night. This leaflet provides lots of information on caring for your baby at night.

Handle with care

Holding your baby close is something you’ll probably naturally want to do right from the start. But you may be a bit nervous to begin with. It’s important to understand that rough handling, especially shaking, can seriously injure your baby.

Building a happy baby

This leaflet from Unicef explains how being close with your baby not only helps them feel safe and secure, but is beneficial for their development too.

Better Start Bradford

Better Start Bradford works with families to give children the best possible start in life in Bowling and Bakerend, Bradford Moor and Little Horton through a range of innovative projects to support them through pregnancy and the earliest years of their children’s lives.

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