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Calming a Fussy Baby

Crying often is related to hunger, and feeding is the obvious solution. However, periods of crying, with no obvious cause and no ready cure plague many parents. Here are a few suggestions. Give several a try. One may work today and another may work tomorrow. Be flexible and know that "this too will end."

Never Shake… Take a Break!

Crying is one of the important ways your baby communicates with you. Never shake a baby! Ever! Check for the possible causes of crying and remember – Never Shake… Take a Break! Shaken baby injuries can occur from as little as 5 seconds of shaking.

Symptoms: Possible causes
(may be more than one):
Periods of inconsolable crying Immature gastro-intestinal system
Clenching fists Sensitive nervous system
Drawing legs up to abdomen Excessive gas or overfeeding
Stiffening as if in pain Formula intolerance
Passing gas Reaction to foods the breastfeeding mother has eaten
Grimacing Overstimulation

Possible Remedies:

  • Motion in any form:
    • Walking
    • Baby swing
    • Rock in rocking chair
    • Rocking side to side while standing
    • Ride in the car or in a stroller
    • Carry baby in infant sling
  • Over-the-counter gas relief drops (Gripe Water)
  • Singing
  • White sound (running water, vacuum, clothes dryer, hair dryer)
  • Swaddle your baby snugly
  • Undress your baby and allow complete freedom of motion
  • Avoid overstimulation from noises, lights or motion
  • Distract the baby with different sounds, sights or places
  • Place pressure on your baby's abdomen (gently)
    • Hold baby in the "colic hold" (facing floor, supported by your arm, heel of your hand putting pressure on the abdomen)
    • Hold baby over your shoulder or over your knees
  • Bicycle your baby's legs
  • Keep a food diary to determine if a particular food bothers your baby
  • Talk to a lactation consultant who may suggest feeding on only one breast per feeding or other techniques to balance the "foremilk" and "hindmilk" your baby obtains while breastfeeding.
  • Take a break; let someone else try for a while.

Lactation Education Resources, Fairfax, VA 22031

Email us at: or call 343-5186 to speak with a CERTIFIED LACTATION CONSULTANT.


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