1. Newborns
  2. Behaviour
  3. Common concerns

How to soothe a crying baby: in pictures

0-1 years

Is baby hungry, upset or tired?

Is baby hungry? Offer her breast or bottle. If she’s fed in the last two hours you can try offering baby something to suck, like a dummy.

Does baby need holding? Try holding her in a cradle position or sling. Try gentle rocking, walking, whispering or singing. Try to keep stimulation low.

Is baby tired? Try wrapping her gently but firmly, and put her down to sleep in a safe place. Reduce stimulation by making the room darker and quieter. Try giving baby a relaxing bath or massage.

Is baby uncomfortable?

Does he have a wet or dirty nappy? Check if baby’s nappy needs changing. If baby has a rash, rinse with clean water, gently pat dry and use a barrier cream.

Does baby need a burp or is he uncomfortable? Try holding him upright and patting his back. Check if he is too hot or cold and has comfortable clothing.

Is baby sick? Does he have a fever? Take his temperature. An average temperature is 37°C, talk to your doctor if you are concerned.

Keeping baby safe

Never shake a baby: it can cause bleeding inside the brain and likely permanent brain damage.

Are you feeling frustrated or upset? If you feel you can’t cope, put baby in a safe place and take some time out until you feel calmer. Or ask someone else to hold her.

It’s OK to ask for help: if you’re having difficulty coping with your baby, call your local Parentline or healthline.

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Raising Children Network is supported by the Australian Government. Member organisations are the Parenting Research Centre and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute with The Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health.

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