1. Newborns
  2. Behaviour
  3. Crying & colic

Soothing a crying baby: in pictures

0-1 years

Is baby crying because she’s hungry, upset or tired?

Is baby hungry? Offer her the breast or a bottle. If baby doesn’t want to feed, she might still want to suck. Offer newborns a dummy, or help older babies find their own fingers.

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

Is baby tired? Try wrapping her gently but firmly. Then put her down to sleep in a safe place. 

Is baby crying because he’s uncomfortable?

Does baby need a nappy change? If baby has a rash, rinse his bottom with clean water, gently pat dry and use a nappy cream.

Does baby need a burp? Try holding him upright and patting his back. Check he isn’t too hot or cold. Make sure he’s dressed comfortably.

Is baby sick? Take his temperature. An average temperature is 37°C. Talk to your GP if you’re worried.

Keeping baby safe when she’s crying

Never shake a baby. It can cause bleeding inside the brain and eyes and likely permanent brain damage.

Are you 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 baby.

It’s OK to ask for help. If it’s hard to cope with your baby, call your local Parentline.

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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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