It's your baby's best (and only!) way of communicating with you - but hearing your little one cry can be stressful. Here are some ways to calm things down when you're both feeling frazzled.

All babies cry – after all, they have no other way of asking for what they need! And it's a marvellously effective way of getting your attention, too; most parents will say that their baby's cry is literally impossible for them to ignore.

By now, you're probably getting more familiar with your baby’s different cries and what they signify, whether it's hunger, a wet nappy, being tired or simply wanting a cuddle. Many young babies have a crying spell during some part of the day (often around teatime, for some reason), and this is quite normal. Unfortunately, it's also when you're at your most frazzled, which can make it difficult to deal with.

Here are some strategies to help you cope:

  • Rock or hold your baby; if you're busy doing something else, wearing them close to your body in a sling can help, too.
  • Sing or put music on – sometimes even dancing does the trick!
  • Take your baby out for a walk or drive – the repetitive motion works wonders on some babies.
  • Babies often love to comfort themselves by sucking, so a soothing breastfeed or a dummy can help calm a crying jag.
  • A warm bath or a massage helps some babies to relax.
  • If all else fails, wait until your partner comes home from work and hand over the baby! Every parent needs a break from the crying sometimes, so don't hesitate to call on your partner, friends or family for a hand if you need it.

If your baby often has unexplained, inconsolable periods of crying or screaming, you might be dealing with colic. Doctors aren't sure what causes colic, but babies who have it often go through periods where they cry loudly and can't be comforted.

If you think your baby may have colic, keep a record of when your baby cries and for how long and discuss it with your doctor or health visitor. Organisations like CRY-SIS also offer parents advice and support on coping with a crying baby: