Coping with crying

It can be really difficult and stressful to cope when your baby is crying, especially when you are feeling very tired.

Crying can disrupt parents’ developing bonds and in extreme cases parents can become so frustrated that they might shake their baby which can result in serious injury to the baby also known as ‘a non-accidental head injury’.

You should never shake a baby.

Crying is the only way that your baby can tell you how they feel or what they need.

If you’ve checked that your baby isn’t hungry or thirsty and has a clean nappy and but still can’t stop crying try:

  • Cuddling – remember you cannot ‘spoil’ a baby by giving them too many cuddles and close contact
  • Taking your baby for a walk in a sling or pram
  • Playing music or singing
  • Gently rocking your baby in a cradle

If you think your baby might be unwell or if the crying seems unusual for your baby speak to your health visitor or GP.

Tips for staying calm:

If the crying feels too much and you are feeling unable to cope you can try:

  • Putting your baby down in a safe place like a cot or pram and going into another room for a short time – go back and check on your baby if they go quiet
  • Sit for a few minutes, take some slow deep breaths and try to take your mind off the crying. When you feel calmer, go back to your baby
  • Ask a relative or friend to take over for a while
  • You can talk to the NSPCC 24/7 on 0808 800 5000 for help and advice


During these challenging times stress levels in households may be increased, particularly for those with small babies and where support from family and friends is not easily accessible. The ICON Programme is a preventative programme, based around helping parents cope with a crying baby.

Abusive Head Trauma (AHT), previously known as Shaken Baby Syndrome, is a devastating form of child abuse.

The ICON Programme is a preventative programme, based around helping parents cope with a crying baby. The word ‘ICON’ represents the following message:
I – Infant crying is normal
C – Comforting methods can sometimes soothe the baby
O – It’s OK to walk away
N – Never, ever shake a baby

There is lots of useful information which you can view by clicking on using the links below:

Further information:

NSPCC – Handle with care

NSPCC – Positive Parenting