By Raising Children Network
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Is baby crying because she’s hungry, upset or tired?

Offer baby breast or bottle; hold her in a cradle position and gently rock and sing in a quiet, dark room; wrap her for sleep.
  • 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?

Check if baby’s nappy needs changing; hold him upright and pat his back; take his temperature and talk to your doctor if concerned.
  • 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; if you are distressed, put baby in a safe place and take some time out; if you need help, call your local Parentline.
  • 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.

  • Last updated or reviewed 18-12-2017