Baby Won’t Stop Crying? What You Need To Do Right Now.

Author Image By Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH •  Updated: 06/06/23 •  Behavior / Behavior Tips

So, you’ve had a great day with your little one. They’ve been fed, changed, and showered with love. But suddenly, your baby won’t stop crying and nothing seems to calm them down.

What could be causing this inconsolable crying? Join us as we explore the possible reasons behind your baby’s tears and share some expert tips to help you soothe your little one.

Common Reasons Why Baby Won’t Stop Crying

Babies cry to let you know what they need. It is their form of communication.

However, there are some instances when your baby will cry more incessantly and be more difficult to soothe.

So, here are some of the most common reasons babies won’t stop crying and when it can be more difficult to calm them down.

Reasons Why Baby Won't Stop Crying

1. Baby Is Hungry

 A hungry baby is not a happy baby. In the early months, all baby will do is feed, sleep and poop.

So make sure they are eating enough during a feed and if they’re struggling to keep food down… try feeding little and often.

2. Baby Is Unwell

Your little one may be inconsolable if they are feeling unwell.

While some babies become lethargic when they are feeling under the weather, others may cry incessantly (especially if they are in pain or discomfort).

3. Baby Is Overstimulated

An overstimulated young baby can easily get themselves worked up into a crying frenzy.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that your little one does not become overwhelmed by too much attention from family and friends in the early months.

The only way they can tell you they have had enough is by crying and they can easily get themselves worked up to the point where baby won’t stop crying as a result.

4. They Are Experiencing Colic

One of the biggest causes of persistent crying in young babies is colic.

A baby with colic is a tricky situation and can be very difficult for both baby and parents to handle. If you suspect your baby has colic, read this article for more advice.

5. They Have Trapped Wind

Trapped wind will often mean your baby won’t stop crying until the wind is released! This tension inside baby can be very uncomfortable so try ‘leg-cycling’, tummy massage and back patting to help.

6. Baby Has Started Teething

Although this will affect older babies, teething can mean baby won’t stop crying for long periods of time and they can be very difficult to settle and console.

To learn more about teething, check out the following post – Teething: The Ultimate Guide.

7. They Are Uncomfortable

If your baby is too hot, too cold or finding their clothing too itchy, they will let you know by the only way they know how… Crying.

In these cases, you will need to become a bit of a detective to work out what is going on with your little one.

If you think that the room temperature is fine, check for chafing from what they are wearing and make sure their fingers and toes are all free.

Read my post How To Dress Baby For Sleep to learn more.

8. Baby Wants Your Attention

We are the centre of our baby’s world. Everything they need comes from us. Some babies will cry because they want us. Our warmth, our smell, our touch and our love.

9. Baby Has A Soiled Diaper

The feeling of dirty diapers is not a pleasant one. Your baby may be letting you know that they feel soiled and damp. 

Even if you’ve just changed their diaper, do one quick check for a wet diaper to be sure.

10. Baby Is Overtired

Having an overtired baby is not a fun situation to find yourself in… If you miss their sleep cues, your baby may spiral out of control and be very difficult to calm down.

Bizarrely, an overtired baby will not settle to sleep quickly or easily so not letting them get overtired is key.

Read my posts Why Does My Baby Fight Sleep and Overtired Baby to learn more.

Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

Solutions For When Baby Won’t Stop Crying

So now that we have looked at the possible causes of your baby’s non-stop crying, what can you do to help them calm down?

Baby Won't Stop Crying Featured image
  1. If you’re feeding, let your baby suckle at your breast or on the bottle. If not, give them a finger or pacifier to suck on.
  2. Having some gentle noise in the background may help distract your baby from crying and reduce loud background noises.
  3. Some older babies like to use a bit of cloth or a blanket as a comforter. A well-loved muslin or cuddly toy works wonders.
  4. Hold your baby or put them in a sling so they’re close to you. Move about gently, sway and dance, talk to them and sing.
  5. Stroke your baby’s back firmly and rhythmically, holding them against you or lying face downwards on your lap. This can help relieve gas and ensure your baby feels your presence.
  6. Get out and about. Rock your baby backwards and forwards in the pram, go out for a walk with your little one in a baby carrier or head out a drive. Try to limit how long your baby sleeps in a car seat to up to 30 minutes for newborns and up to 2 hours for babies…. And even if your baby wakes up again when you stop, at least you’ll have had a break from the constant crying.
  7. Find something for them to listen to or look at. This could be an audiobook, music on the radio, a favourite CD, a rattle, or a mobile above the cot, like this one:
  8. Try giving baby a warm bath. This will calm some babies instantly, but makes others cry even more. So give it a try, but don’t worry if it doesn’t work for your little one.
  9. After a bath, try massaging your baby gently and firmly. Avoid using any oils or lotions until your baby’s at least a month old. Talk soothingly as you do it and keep the room warm enough.

If these solutions don’t work, you can try following Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s to soothing a crying baby:

Harvey Karp’s Soothing 5 S’s

Sometimes despite all your best efforts to work out why your baby is crying, they may get themselves worked up to a point where you feel at a complete loss as to what to do to calm them and baby won’t stop crying…

If this happens… try the calming method devised by Pediatrician Harvey Karp called the 5 S’s:

1. Swaddle Baby

Most babies love to be swaddled. Swaddling makes them feel secure and reminds them of their days in the womb.

Therefore, the first step to soothing your crying baby is to wrap them in a snug (but not too tight) swaddle. I love the Nested Bean swaddles:

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2. Side Or Stomach Position

Hold your baby on their side or on their tummy over your arm. Both positions are comforting for babies, especially for babies with tummy and wind issues.

3. Shush In Baby’s Ear

When baby won’t stop crying, make a gentle shushing sound directly into your baby’s ear, which is similar to the constant sound they heard in the womb.

White noise machines have a similar effect, but your voice will also be very comforting when baby won’t stop crying. You can try singing a gentle song to them too.

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4. Swing Baby Back and Forth Gently

Babies are used to these types of motions from their time in the womb and often don’t like the stillness they experience after birth.

Therefore, try gently swinging or jiggling your baby to get them to calm down.

Be careful to always support their head and neck when doing so.

5. Suck On A Pacifier or Finger

Once your baby has calmed down a bit, sucking will often comfort them. Offer a pacifier, your finger or try to feed baby (bottle or breast).

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But if these tactics don’t work…

What Do I Do If Nothing Works?

It is very distressing when baby won’t stop crying…

Even with all the training and experience I have had, I know how helpless and frustrated you can feel when you have a baby that just won’t stop crying.

Honestly, it’s heartbreaking.

And I feel so deeply for you.

So, if you feel you are at the end of your tether…

Then you need to place your baby in a safe place such as their crib and leave them for a few minutes.

Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, take some deep breaths and call a friend or relative for a supportive chat.

You can then return to your baby with a better mindset to cope with calming them down.

Helplines For Extra Support

In the UK if you are struggling when baby won’t stop crying you can contact the Cry-Sis Helpline on +44 (0)800 448 0737 open 9am-10pm seven days a week.

Cry-Sis can put you in touch with parents of babies who have been in the same situation.

In the U.S, call the Crying Baby Hotline at 1-866-243-2229 or the Fussy Baby Warmline at 1-888-431-BABY to talk to health professionals.

They too will be able to support you through this trying time.

And no matter where you are, know that there are parents everywhere who have been through this too and there are people to help you.

So don’t be afraid to ask for help.

You are not a failure.

You are doing the best for yourself and your baby.

What Do We Mean By Excessive Crying?

All babies cry. So what’s the difference between a baby who cries, a baby who won’t stop crying and a baby when tears turn into a full-blown uncontrollable wail?

Well, interpreting your baby’s crying is one of the first things new parents learn…

Babies have several different cries depending on their needs and crying is the way in which your little one communicates with us.

Therefore, when it gets out of hand or becomes non-stop, your baby is REALLY trying to tell you something.

So, what is classed as excessive crying and when should you be concerned?

Well, it’s perfectly normal for a young baby to cry for 1-3 hours per day.

In the early days, they may not cry much at all as they are still waking up to the world, but soon they will want to make their presence known and the only way they can do that is to cry.

Most infant crying stops once you see to their needs… But in extreme cases, your baby won’t stop crying no matter what you do.

In this case, they may be experiencing what is known as PURPLE crying.


Doctors came up with PURPLE crying to help parents deal with the stages of excessive crying that occurs in infants during the first 4 months of their lives by helping them understand that all babies go through the Period of PURPLE Crying.

Purple Crying Baby Wont Stop Crying (1)

However, if your baby won’t stop crying for more than 3 ½ hours per day regularly, there may be an underlying cause for concern and you should always go with your gut feeling.

To learn more about PURPLE Crying, click here to visit the Purple Crying Website.

When To See A Doctor

If your baby has been crying constantly for more than 2 to 3 hours and NONE of the normal remedies for calming them has worked… then you should consult a doctor.

In addition to excess crying, if baby displays any of the following symptoms you should also seek IMMEDIATE medical advice:

Trust your instincts.

You will know the difference between a fussy baby and excessive crying which is cause for concern.

Baby Won’t Stop Crying Recap

Dealing with a non-stop crying baby is tough.

It can be totally overwhelming and it will have you questioning what you are doing wrong as a parent.

However, it is important to remember you are not alone.

Most babies will go through a period of excessive crying in the early weeks and the good news is that after 6 weeks of age, these bouts of crying usually start to occur less often.

Remember that crying is your baby’s only way of communicating their needs in the early months so it is up to us to work out what they need.

As you get to know baby more, you will probably find that they cry less as you will become more aware of situations that prompt excessive crying.

Whatever the reason why baby won’t stop crying, hang on to the fact that time is on your side and that this will get better. Even a colicky baby will eventually get better and cry less as they grow older!

And finally, if you are really struggling, ASK FOR HELP.

A constantly crying baby, no matter what the cause, is very difficult to deal with and you will need a break, so share the load.

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.

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