10 Ways to Soothe a Screaming Baby

The first year of my son’s life was really challenging because he was a  screaming baby.
After ten years of hearing people  complain about them, I finally got a screaming baby all to myself ((karma)).  My baby cried for hours at a time, it was hard to console  him, and we got to the point where we just thought he  would always be a screamer.    But, after 17 months, I can honestly say that it gets better.  And, we learned from our Facebook community that we aren’t alone.  There are lots of us who have faced having a screaming baby!  So, we put together a quick resource for parents  to make the first year a little easier.
Ways to soothe a screaming baby from Moms who have been there

10 Ways to Soothe a  Screaming Baby

For Newborns:

  • Newborns startle and scream easily.  Instead of letting their arms and legs flail around, pull their legs and arms their tummies and place your hand on their feet and hands.  It should look like the position they were in the womb.  Slowly rock your hand back and forth to soothe them.
  • Swaddle them often – we found square blankets to be the best shape to swaddle!
  • Wear them in a sling or make your own DIY  wrap
  • Use white noise (here’s a great white noise app for your phone) or turn  a hair dryer on for brief periods to calm your baby.

For Older Babies:

  • Remember they are trying to communicate, so use baby signs and nonverbal communication (like pointing) early.  Even if baby doesn’t use the signs, continue to use them so that you are encouraging other ways to communicate.
  • Be a detective.  Really watch what happens before they start screaming.  It took me months to figure out that my son would start screaming unconsolably because he wanted a drink while he ate!  The more you watch, the more you can learn how to respond before the screaming starts!
  • Find help ~ ask a relative or babysitter to watch your child so that you can get some space and avoid burn out if your baby screams for hours each day.
  • Continue to wear them in a sling, rock, and sing to them often
  • Use something that soothes them  (like a bath or music) throughout the day.  I limited bath time at night, but it was the only time my baby was really happy, so I started giving him time in the bath without bathing.  It really helped calm him during the daytime, too.
  • Take a walk outside.  Sometimes a change of scenery can really help soothe baby!
  • An infant massage or gently tickle baby’s legs and arms can calm down a baby, but they may want it for very long periods of times, so be ready!
  • Trust yourself.  If your baby is truly inconsolable, talk with your doctor!  Be sure to write down when and how long your child’s screaming lasts so you have a starting point for talking with your child’s Doctor.

I wish everyone knew #2

Here are our favorite responses from our Facebook community:
  • He’s learning a new skill. He’s trying it out, and when he feels he has is mastered, he will move on from screaming!
  • My son has always been a screamer.  Now, at 16 months, he screams when we don’t understand what he wants or what he’s trying to tell us.  He doesn’t have a lot of words, so I try to be  a detective and look for clues around us about what  he is trying to do (ie. reach his cup, sit in a chair, ask for a snack, etc.).  He stops screaming the moment I understand him and nods “YES” vigorously – how frustrating it must for babies when they can’t tell you what they need or want!!
  • I encourage my 5 month old to keep communicating with me any way she can. I know everyone’s different and the screaming  might bother you, however, i really dont think theres much you can do to change it at this point! Maybe you can try to embrace it. It sounds like he’s just having fun and exploring his new talent.
  • My granddaughter is almost 10 months and she screams too. It is a babies way of using their voice. It is normal. Maybe get get ear plugs? You never want to discourage your child from using a new skill!
  • Teach him signs. My son screeched for a month. He was trying to communicate his needs. Teach him “more” and “all done” to start. My son learned by 6 months and now talks and signs. Still yells because he’s a toddler now, but he just likes the reaction 🙂

Come on over to our Facebook community and let us know what you would add!

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