Here are a few calming techniques to try when your baby starts to cry.
On average, newborns cry about two hours a day. These wails are not a sign of bad parenting; rather, they're simply the only way your little one can tell you that he's hungry, tired, overstimulated or uncomfortable. Surprisingly, newborns usually aren't bothered by a wet or dirty diaper (though this doesn't mean you shouldn't check!). Babies respond differently to calming techniques; here are a few to try:
Swaddling: Many infants love the security of being tightly wrapped in a receiving blanket. Labor-and-delivery nurses are pros at this technique--ask one to show you.
"Wearing" him in a sling: Yep, you've got a brand-new accessory that goes with everything. Babies who are held or carried most of their waking hours are less fussy than those left in a crib or infant seat, according to the Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.
Bouncing: Hold him in your arms and gently bounce on the bed or a workout ball for several minutes. Rocking works well, too.
Moving: A change of scenery that also involves motion can work wonders, so take a walk, go for a ride or dance around the house.
Making noise: Fans, vacuum cleaners or just loud shushing reminds your little one of the womb. Don't want to wear out your appliances? Try a CD, such as The Happiest Baby "Super-Soothing" Calming Sounds by pediatrician Harvey Karp, M.D. ($13, amazon.com).
Crying tends to peak in the late afternoon or early evening--the "witching hour." If the piercing cries get to be too much, wear foam earplugs while you try the soothing techniques mentioned above.