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Crying, Age 3 and Younger

Crying plan

​​​​​​​​​​​​All babies cry. It is how they tell you they need something. A crying baby may:

  • be hungry or gassy
  • have a wet or soiled diaper
  • be sick or in pain
  • be lonely

Sometimes babies just need to cry and may cry for no apparent reason.​

Sometimes babies can’t stop crying no m​atter what you do. When this happens, feeling frustr​ated is normal. It’s more important for you to stay calm than to stop the crying.

Having a plan to cope with crying can help.

Here are some ideas you can try. You can add your own ideas and the phone numbers of people you know can help you in the blank lines.​ Show your plan to everyone who helps care for your baby. And remember:​

  • It’s OK to ask for help.
  • Never shake a baby, for any reason.

​​​​​Take a break, don’t shake​
Ways to soothe my baby Where to ask for helpWays to calm myself
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  • Check with a healthcare
    pro​vider​ to see if my baby is sick or in pain​.
  • Check what my baby may need. Are they hungry, wet, bored?
  • Feed my baby slowly and burp them often.
  • Change my baby’s diaper.
  • Take my baby for a walk.
  • Play soothing music.
  • Run the vacuum.
  • Gently massage my baby’s tummy or back.
  • Snuggle my baby against my chest.
  • Gently rock my baby.
  • Sing, read or talk softly.
  • Put my baby in a baby swing.
  • Give my baby a warm bath.
  • Encourage my baby to suck, like on a soother.
  • Turn down noise and light around my baby.

Other ideas to soothe my baby:

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​​​Call Health Link at
811 to get health advice from a nurse anytime, 24 hours a day.

Call the following contacts anytime during the day ​if I need help:

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​ ​ ahs-crying-plan-baby.jpg
  • Gently put my baby where they will be safe, like their crib, and leave the room.
  • Close my eyes and take deep breaths.
  • Count to 100.
  • Listen to music.
  • Talk to someone about my feelings.
  • Call a friend or family member.
  • Talk to my partner to see how we can help each other.
  • Take a shower or bath.
  • Exercise.
  • Do housework.
  • Write down the 5 best things about myself.
  • Write down the 5 best things about my baby.
  • Do an activity or hobby like a crossword puzzle or reading.
  • Use positive self-talk like “I can calm myself” and “my baby knows I am trying.”

Other ideas to calm myself​:

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Current as of: July 30, 2020

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services