There is no magical, simple, standard answer to settling a baby that is crying.
In the first instance you have to try to find the cause of your baby’s distress – and that may not be easy. Some health professionals have said in their opinion “Allowing your baby to cry for even a minute can induce a feeling of abandonment and have a negative effect on their emotional development” however this statement has induced a sense of panic in many parents and may encourage them to over-react to their baby’s normal communications.
Babies cannot vocalise in words and often the only way they communicate any upset is through crying. Being over-tired, tired, hungry, thirsty or experiencing some digestive distress (needing to burp, needing a poo or actually experiencing some degree of reflux) are the main reasons that your young baby may be crying. If he hasn’t fed for 2 to 3 hours, it could be hunger, if he hasn’t slept for an hour or so he’s probably tired, if he is struggling to take proper feeds and isn’t sleeping well in between feeds and seems uncomfortable, he could have colic or reflux.
Putting baby up over shoulder and patting /rubbing his back can often soothe them, as can holding them across your lap on their tummy and patting their back or holding them on their front lying on your forearm or simply settling them into bed and to sleep with some reassuring patting is what could be required. By implementing a simple but flexible feeding and sleeping pattern (as written in my book The Sensational Baby Sleep Plan) will help you quickly learn to differentiate between your baby’s cries of hunger or tiredness etc and empower you to feel able to ‘read’, understand and respond accordingly to your baby’s natural cries.
Alison Scott-Wright – The Magic Sleep Fairy