Every parent dreads the thought of their baby crying. But despite your best soothing efforts, they will cry and sometimes it will drive you crazy, especially if your baby is teething, has colic, or is going thought any other particularly tears-inducing phase. As time goes on, you'll learn the best ways to calm your little one down. There are, however, a few things you should never do to get a baby to stop crying that you should take off your "soothe list" ASAP.
These things, while mostly intuitive, are vital for parents to know for their baby's safety and their own sanity. I'll be the first to admit that caring for your baby when they're crying can be frustrating. It can test a parent's patience, cause them to worry that something is wrong with their baby, or even act irrationally. However, doing the following things to try and calm your baby can harm them physically or emotionally and are generally ineffective at best and dangerous at worst.
Instead, using proven techniques like Harvey Karp's "Five Ss" method — swaddling, side or stomach holding, shushing, swinging, and sucking (or nursing) — will help rule out possible reasons your baby may be crying one by one and likely be much more effective than these things on the "not to do" list.
1. Ignore Them
Although this technique can help with toddler tantrums, ignoring the cries of a young baby is more destructive than you'd think. This doesn't refer to sleep training methods like crying it out or ones that allow "controlled crying," which can work for some families. However, according to an article from HuffPost, babies younger than 3 or 4 months old aren't psychologically prepared to have their cries ignored. This young age is crucial for building the mental capacity to trust their parents and the basic instinct and need for response is critical for their development.
2. Shake Them
Of course, it's common knowledge that if you feel yourself getting angry when you can't calm your baby, you should never, ever shake them. This, according to Parents, can cause shaken baby syndrome (SBS,) a form of abusive head trauma and even well meaning parents can succumb in a moment of bad judgement.
If you feel yourself getting overly frustrated, safely set your baby down and wait until you feel calm enough to handle them and then deal with what you think the underlying cause is.
3. Raise Your Voice At Them
As part of the Five Ss, shushing has been proven to soothe babies, yelling or raising your voice has not. Its easy to raise your voice at children of any age, but when they're small, it's particularly damaging and futile, according to a post from The New York Times.
Instead, speak calmly to your baby in a comforting voice. Or, don't say anything at all. Try identifying why your baby is crying in the first place and using the process of elimination to figure it out.