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How to make a baby stop crying

How do I get my baby to stop crying?

Babies usually cry for three basic reasons: They're uncomfortable, they're sleepy, or they're bored.

You're a good parent. I know you're exhausted. And you desperately want your child to stop crying. So I've devised a flowchart that seems to work wonderfully for soothing baby back into a state of happy baby-ness. Give it a try.

PS: The book Caring For Your Baby or Young Child was an indispensable resource for us. It's put out by the American Academy of Pediatricians. It's like a user manual. It's awesome...

Flowchart To Help Baby Stop Crying

If baby cries:

1) Baby is hungry. Try to feed baby. No? Proceed to number 2. (if baby feels hot to the touch...jump to number 11. Baby has a fever)

2) Baby is cold. Wrap baby up, burrito style. No? Proceed to number 3.

3) Baby is sleepy. Rock baby for a few minutes. No? Proceed to number 4.

4) Baby has gas...a very common cause of mysterious, frenzied crying. Give simethicone drops (gas drops). Wait a 15 minutes or so. No? Proceed to number 5.

5) Baby is bored as hell from staring up at the ceiling too long. Entertain baby - maybe take baby outside...sing a little song, do a little dance, make funny faces...this is the comic part you see in the movies. Try all that stuff for maybe five minutes. No? Proceed to number 6.

6) Baby is hungry but didn't realize it the first time. Sometimes baby is so furious and in pain from hunger that baby didn't realize it was being offered food the first time. Try feeding again. Make sure baby knows there's food there. No? Proceed to number 7.

7) Baby is uncomfortable. Check baby for ill fitting clothes, something painful. Change diaper. Check for bug bites. Listen for loud noises (other than the baby) that might be disturbing baby. No? Proceed to number 8.

8) Baby could be teething. Teething HURTS. Check mouth and apply gum gel if necessary (yes, this stuff does work). No? Proceed to number 9.

9) Baby is throwing a generalized tantrum, has built up a good head of steam, and is pretty much crying because its crying. If you're into pacifiers, try one. Try going "SHHHHHH" in baby's ear while holding baby tight. If you're near a lot of noise, take baby somewhere quiet. Rock baby. Sing to baby. Do something soothing for 10 minutes and see if baby calms down. Still not working? See number 10.

10) CHECK YOURSELF. Baby has been crying for some time now and it may be starting to grind on you, especially if you're exhausted. Are you feeling angry and stressed? Are you about to yell at baby? Are you about to go insane? This won't help. If possible, pass baby off to partner while you get the heck out of the room. If passing baby off is not possible...put baby someplace safe, leave the room, and close the door for a moment and compose yourself. There there. There there.

Here's the plan. You've gone through all the routine stuff and it didn't work. Now you simply need to make sure the baby isn't in need of medical attention. If baby IS NOT in need of medical attention, and you have reached the end of your rope, there's really nothing wrong with letting baby cry it out in a safe place while you try to get some sleep or have some tea. Seriously. It's okay to do that.

Proceed to number 11.

11) Baby could be sick. Take baby's temp. Is it over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit ( 38 degrees Celsius)? Then this is the problem. If it's WAY over 100.4, like104 or so, probably best to see a doctor. Otherwise, give baby some acetaminophen or baby ibuprofen and maybe give baby a cool bath to take down the temperature (remember, NEVER use baby aspirin). If this is not the problem, see number 12.

12) I f baby has no fever, the final options is that baby is in serious pain. Here you have to use your own judgement. If you suspect baby is in pain, try giving baby some acetaminophen or baby ibuprofen (remember, NEVER use baby aspirin). If this helps, then you may have figured it out, and can proceed to wonder (while you climb into bed) what might have been causing baby to be in pain.

Still crying? This is sorta your call. If baby is not in need of medical attention, it's okay to put baby in a safe place and let baby cry it out while you try to get some sleep. Or you can begin the flow-chart again, or call a doctor.

Additional Ruminations on Babies Crying

When babies cry, it's usually a simple equation. Baby is physically or emotionally uncomfortable and so baby cries. Early in in life, baby needs to feel that the world is safe and predictable. So don't be a stingy-pants with the affection. Slather affection on that little critter and do respond when baby cries.

We've all heard the occasional person talk about how babies are trying to manipulate you when they cry. That's simply insane. I'm sorry to say that baby has no concept that you have your own thoughts and feelings. So the idea that baby would play on your feelings to achieve a goal is way beyond baby's scope of experience. And I won't even get into the complete lack of attention span babies have. So put it out of your mind. Babies aren't plotting to manipulate you. They feel a need, they cry.

That said...sometimes something makes baby feel uncomfortable even when that thing is good for baby. For example, as baby gets older baby needs to sleep through the night. That's good for baby and for you. Around that time, baby will occasionally wake from sleep and start crying because baby is lonely. But at some point, baby needs to learn how to sooth itself back to sleep. In these cases, it's not just okay to let baby cry. It's good. It may be heart wrenching. But you gotta resist.

Does Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen Make Baby Sleep

In my experience there is no direct correlation between these drugs and zonking a baby out. They're pain medications, and they ease pain. Once the pain is gone, baby has an easier time sleeping. But giving Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen to an otherwise painless baby won't do squat and in fact might even wake them up.