A crying infant can try any parent's patience. Jessica Hartshorn, Sr. Lifestyle's Editor of American Baby Magazine, has some tips for drying those tears.
When your baby cries, do your best to remember their basic comforts and needs. Ask yourself, are they hungry? Do they need a new diaper? Is my son or daughter to hot or too cold? Infants can't talk to you to tell you what's wrong, and that can be frustrating to them. Their only response is to cry, so it's up to you to address their basic needs and concerns.
If all the basic needs check out, remember the Five S's. Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician and author of "The Happiest Baby on the Block", came up with the five S's. Basically, these five tips mimic what the baby remembers from their life in the womb, so each step has a calming effect. The five S's include: swadling, shhhh, side, swinging and sucking.
"[Dr. Karp] talks about swadling," says Hartshorn. Babies are used to being squished up in the womb, so swadling helps them feel secure. You can also tell your baby to be quiet - literally. Making a "shhhhhh" sound with your lips can calm baby too. "It's the sound that they hear in the womb, actually," says Hartshorn. You can also try holding your baby on their side and swing them gently. The last S is for sucking. "They have this natural urge to suck," says Hartshorn. Try nursing your son or daughter or give them a bottle or a pacifier.
If this doesn't work, try to play to your son or daughter's senses. "They're all individual people," says Hartshorn. Some babies like quiet when they sleep, some like to hear voices. Other babies respond well to music or can't sleep if there's light coming into the room. As you bond with your infant, pay attention to what your child likes and dislikes. If your child is a heavy sleeper, but always wakes up to the sound of the phone ringing, try unplugging all the phones in the house during baby's naptime. The idea is to create an environment in which your baby feels safe and calm. "You always have to be kind of on your toes," says Hartshorn.
If all else fails, try a change of scenery. Take your baby for a walk or strap them in their car seat and go for a drive. You never know what may distract and soothe your child enough to stop their tears.
For more information on keeping your baby calm, as well as additional parenting advice, click here to visit www.AmericanBaby.com.
By Erin Petrun
Copyright 2008 CBS. All rights reserved.