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my 4 week old daughter will not stop crying. We've tried everything from sucking, both on pacifiers and fingers to breastfeeding, white noise, movement, diaper is clean she doesn't seem to have a fever.

We've tried everything we can read about and think of.

We are both a little bit ill, the common cold and the baby may have gotten it and be upset but we are just at the end of our nerves when nothing helps our poor little one!

Does anyone know anything we can do to help?

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Update: her. Mother stopped eating dairy and magically the excessive crying stopped. Our little one is allergic to the milk proteins, so she's had to cut out all dairy products and she's crying normally now, most of the time :-) thanks for your help everyone :-) –  Kramp Sep 26 '11 at 6:13
    
My son had a bit of the same trouble. If your wife is a fan of dairy, she can try adding small amounts. Sometimes cheese, butter, yogurt, etc. are easier to digest than straight up milk. In my wife's case, she could eat small quantities of the above without issue. –  William Grobman Oct 1 '11 at 20:38
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@William, yes, we tried that. Three bites of a cheesecake and we ended up with a full night of screaming. so absolutely no dairy until over 3 months :) But soya milk can be used as a substitute for now. –  Kramp Oct 2 '11 at 19:00

8 Answers 8

My pediatrician as well as several of my friends have recommended the book/DVD "Happiest Baby on the Block" for methods to calm a fussy baby. Dr. Harvey Karp details 5 things you can do to make your baby feel like he is in the womb, which should calm him down. It sounds like you've tried several of these, but Karp says if you try them at the same time and in this order, it works in most cases.

Swaddle: Wrap your baby up tightly. Make sure the top of the blanket isn't brushing his cheek and triggering his rooting reflex. (My baby actually cries a bit harder after I swaddle her, but it's an important step, and she calms down after I do the other steps.)

Side/Stomach: Babies should sleep on their backs, but they tend to be more comfortable on their stomach or side. You can put him facedown on your lap, or on your arm with his head in your hand.

Shhhhh: Make some white noise, and make it loudly. The ambient noise in the womb is about as loud as a vacuum cleaner, so "SHHHH" like you mean it. I usually try shush just as loud as my baby cries. You could also turn on a vacuum, which saves you from becoming light-headed if you shush too long.

Swinging: Karp says that slow, rythmic rocking is actually not the best way of doing it. He suggests short, quick motions. (The DVD is probably best for showing that). I usually achieve this one by lying down and putting my daughter face-down on my chest, then just scooting her back and forth-- she only moves about an inch or 2, and I "rock" her a couple times a second.

Sucking: This one is fairly self explanitory.

Here is an article with a summary of these steps: http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/274. Good luck!

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Yeah, we've seen this and tried it and it didn't work unfortunately. Thanks though –  Kramp Sep 2 '11 at 22:57
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Ok so we eventually turned on a hairdryer, although we tried washing machine and computer generated white noise. I'll accept this answer as the shhhhh is closest. –  Kramp Sep 3 '11 at 17:30
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Ach, I'd get a fan or white noise generator soon, since a hairdryer is a potential fire hazard with the heat it creates. –  Kzqai Sep 4 '11 at 2:59
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I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful, but I'm glad you found something that worked for you! –  Sarato Sep 4 '11 at 5:59

When all else fails I try the following: Hold your baby high against your body, walk up and down a dark hallway, and sing to your little one. The walking is very soothing to them and the dark is relaxing. Additionally, a good technique is to firmly pat their diaper to the beat of whatever you're singing; don't spank them, but a good pat that helps them focus on the music can do wonders for stopping tears and will sometimes get out a painful burp.

Also understand that you may not be able to stop the crying; colic, which is periods of prolonged and seemingly causeless crying, is fairly common in infants and is thought to be gas. Just try your best to comfort your baby and talk to your pediatrician if the crying lasts for more than a few days or for extended periods.

Finally, I'd recommend this excellent article on the subject of colic. It includes a number of tips and phone numbers to toll-free help lines.

I wish you and your little one the best of luck.

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I edited this to clean up the links a little bit -- you may find this page to be quite helpful. Heaven knows I did! :D –  Aarthi Sep 3 '11 at 17:56
    
I usually have success with this method. Also, the choice of music matters too. There was a cute melody that I always listened to when I was pregnant and my son seems to like it when I quietly start humming that song while doing the other suggestions this post mentions. –  c_maker Sep 20 '13 at 0:10

There are some special holds that might help.

Tiger in the Tree

enter image description here

Here's a site with a video showing the hold.

http://www.cheshiremum.co.uk/tag/tiger-in-the-tree/

Swinging

Once your baby can hold her head steady there are a bunch of different swings you can try.

Sit your baby down. Sit behind her. Put your hands under her arms and over her thighs and hold her lower legs. Stand up, keeping her in that position, and start swinging your arms side to side. Practice on a big stuffed toy first! It sounds more confusing than it is.

Coping for parents

Accept the fact that some babies do cry for no known reason, and that if you've covered all the obvious stuff, and then tried the special techniques, and got some medical advice, and your baby is still crying, that there might not be anything to do about it just then. This is very hard to cope with, and the parents will need support. Maybe try "tag teaming", so one parent stays with baby while the other leaves the house. Or get a well known and trusted sitter so the parents can get away.

Here's a UK website that supports parents of crying babies. Maybe there are versions in other countries?

http://www.cry-sis.org.uk/

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I've taken the liberty to add a photo of "Tiger in the Tree". (This is my son, at nine days of age.) –  Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Sep 25 '11 at 18:43
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Excellent photo!! –  DanBeale Sep 25 '11 at 19:21

First, it is very likely normal for your baby to cry and you need to ration your strength. Make sure both parents and other caregivers give each other breaks from the crying to recover. If it is just the two of you please find some help. Even as little as a couple hours once a week is important for your health and ability to have perspective.

Now, strategies for crying. Go through a cry reasons checklist in your head every time until your reaction is automatic, here's mine:

  1. Wet (change diaper)
  2. Hungry (feed)
  3. Gas (Burp)
  4. Cold/Hot (adjust amount of bed clothes)
  5. Uncomfortable (check the baby's body for anything that could be an irritant: don't overlook things like clothing tags, detergent used, a hair wrapped around a baby's toe, perfume on a parent)
  6. Tired (soothe and later ignore)
  7. Upset/Angry (try to remedy the upsetting environment, soothe, or ignore)

Once you have a checklist in mind you need to keep track of a crazy amount of stuff: what is the baby eating, when, when is the baby sleeping, how long, any burps, how about diaper changes, and so on. If you have these things in mind you can start to identify what leads to crying in your baby. Keep it all in a little notebook and bring it with you to doctor visits just in case to help remind you of things.

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you've had several hints up there of how to solve it, but i want to make sure to say to trust your instincts because this is a potentially dangerous situation. if you think for a moment that the crying "doesn't sound right" then do not hesitate to get urgent help or advice. if you've done all the obvious stuff, and even taken some of the advice here to heart and you're thinkin "i dunno, he SEEMS ok but it sounds... different" then go with that.

a lot of new parents fear being laughed at by someone that 'knows more about it' . . . you know what? nobody that's worth their salt or their paycheck is going to laugh at you for taking a baby to the emergency room if you were unsure. If they do laugh at or ridicule you in some way, tell that person to go away and ask for someone else.

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A friend's baby cried "excessively" when born. All the nurses said it was normal and wrote them off as just being inexperienced parents. My friends persisted until someone finally took them seriously and found the child had a hernia. Once it was repaired, the baby started crying at "normal" levels.

Long and short, have you spoken to a pediatrician about it?

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Please check out this website.

http://www.purplecrying.info/

What a lot of people don't know is that it is normal for babies to cry. A lot of times babies go through periods of crying where they cannot be soothed.

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My baby is extremely sensitive to hot and sweats a lot. This is now in our list of reasons for crying. (she cries to death when she's hot, and more so than when hungry)

We'd make sure she doesn't wear too much and she is in a fresh place. In these moments she will not want milk but she sill love to drink some water. Depending on where you live, that might be a factor.

I also realized that babies are very sensitive to the parents' mood, tone of voice and face. If you've been ill and upset (which happens to every parent) you have to work on that.

At 4 weeks old I will not advise you to go out and play with her and it shouldn't be a teeth problem either.

A lot of babies cry for no apparent reason. If it really doesn't stop then it's probably time to see your pediatrician.

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