Help to cope with crying babies

Dr Matthew Price, Clinical Lead and Clinical Psychologist at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust for Little Minds Matter, on behalf of The Bradford Partnership (Working Together to Safeguard Children).

It is normal for a baby to cry

... and it will stop.

A baby’s cry can be upsetting and frustrating. It is designed to get your attention and you may be worried that something is wrong with your baby.

Your baby may start to cry more frequently at about 2 weeks of age.

The crying may get more frequent and last longer during the next few weeks, hitting a peak at about 6 to 8 weeks.

Every baby is different, but after about 8 weeks, babies start to cry less and less each week.

Remember – This phase will stop! Remember ICON to help cope with their crying.
Babies Cry, You Can Cope! 

I - Infant crying is normal and it will stop
C - Comfort methods can sometimes soothe baby and the crying will stop
O - It’s OK to walk away if you have checked baby is safe and the crying is getting to you
N - Never, ever shake or hurt a baby

What can I do to help my baby?

Comfort methods can sometimes soothe baby and the crying will stop.

Babies can cry because they are hungry, tired, wet or dirty or if they are unwell.

Check these basic needs and try some simple calming techniques:

  • Talk calmly, hum or sing to your baby
  • Let them hear a repeating or soothing sound
  • Hold them close – skin to skin
  • Go for a walk outside with your baby
  • Give them a warm bath

These techniques may not always work. It may take a combination or more than one attempt to soothe your baby.

If you think there is something wrong with your baby or the crying won’t stop speak to your GP, Midwife or Health Visitor. If you are worried that your baby is unwell visit NHS 111.

The crying won’t stop, what can I do now?

Not every baby is easy to calm but that doesn’t mean you are doing anything wrong.

Don’t get angry with your baby or yourself. Instead, put your baby in a safe place and walkaway so that you can calm yourself down by doing something that takes your mind off the crying. Try:

  • Listening to music, doing some exercises or doing something that calms you.
  • Call a relative or friend – they may be able to help you calm or may be able to watch your baby.

After a few minutes when you are calm, go back and check on the baby. It’s normal for parents to get stressed, especially by crying. Put some time aside for yourself and take care of your needs as well as your baby’s to help you cope.

What not to do…

Handling a baby roughly will make them more upset. Shouting or getting angry with your baby will make things worse. 

Sometimes parents and people looking after babies get so angry and frustrated with a baby’s cry they lose control.

They act on impulse and shake their baby. Shaking or losing your temper with a baby is very dangerous and can cause:

  • Blindness
  • Learning disabilities
  • Seizures
  • Physical disabilities
  • Death

Remember: Never, ever shake or hurt a baby.

You can get more advice from the ICON Cope website or from the NSPCC website.

Remember – if you are concerned that your baby may be unwell, contact your GP or NHS 111 (go to or call 111- the service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). In an emergency, ring 999.