Every new parent becomes familiar with one sound very quickly. The baby is crying. There will be times when it feels like you just got to sleep after soothing the baby from her last crying spell, when you are wakened by her crying yet again. And, while there are times when baby’s crying is for fairly obvious reasons, such as hunger, being too warm or too cold, or being hurt, there are other times when your baby will cry even after you have done everything humanly possible to help her to feel better. So, how can you get your baby to stop crying?

The simple answer is, you can’t. There are lots of things you can do to sooth your baby, but ultimately he will only stop crying when he is ready to. Of course, you should go through the normal “checklist”. Feed the baby, burp the baby, change the baby’s diaper, make sure he’s warm, but not too warm. But, after you have done that, there’s not much you can do, right?

Well, not exactly. While it’s true that babies won’t stop crying until they’re ready to, there are some things you can do to help. Babies crave the familiar, and often swaddling her with a favorite blanket will help sooth her. Singing softly to her is another favorite trick. This is especially effective as baby becomes familiar with a song or two. When my daughter was an infant, I would sing “You Are So Beautiful” to her. Now, I’m no Joe Cocker, and I’m not likely to win any singing competitions, but after she became familiar with the song, this seemed to sooth her. Amazingly, it continued to help sooth her even as a toddler and preschooler.

The ways to help sooth your baby are countless. Some others that bear mentioning include rocking him, rubbing his back, giving him a toy to play with (but be sure to remove the toy if baby falls asleep), or even taking him for a car ride. Some would argue that doing these things hinders a baby from teaching himself how to self soothe. Maybe they’re right, but as a parent you have to make the decision whether to allow your baby to cry it out, or to try to soothe them. There are arguments for both methods.

One more note. If your baby is crying excessively for long periods of time, she might have a medical problem, such as colic. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to consult with a doctor or health care professional if you think your baby may be crying more or harder than normal. Trust your instincts. You know your baby better than anybody in the world, and if you think something may be wrong, it’s better to be safe than sorry.