Very often, this will be just the sort of loving contact your baby needs to calm down and stop crying. If she quiets when you hold her upright against your shoulder, or face down in your arms, it may have been gas making her cry. If she has been passed around for relatives and friends to hold, she may just want a few quiet moments of being cuddled by a familiar parent.
Rock her rhythmically
Movement often comforts a cranky baby, and may put her to sleep. Rock her in your arms, and if she doesn't quiet down, try rocking faster -- perhaps 60 to 70 rocks per minute. Or just jiggle her up and down by shifting from foot to foot, perhaps with your baby in an infant carrier on your chest (see page 85). Or rock with her in a rocking chair, if you have one. Or put her in her stroller or carriage and push her back and forth; if you can take her around the block, the gentle bumping over the pavement will soothe her.
Wrap him up quite firmly in a baby quilt or receiving blanket, tucking the ends under him to make a neat bundle. It may comfort him to feel safe and secure. Carry him around in your arms still swaddled up until he seems happier, and put him down to sleep on his back without unwrapping him. If your baby is crying because of something you've had to do to him--perhaps he hates being dressed or washed, for example--swaddling may be the best way to reassure and calm him, and stop the crying.
Rhythmically patting and rubbing her back or stomach will often calm her down and may help her to bring up gas. The feel of your hand will often comfort her when you first put her down to change her diaper, too.
Give him something to suck
Almost all babies are soothed by sucking, and nowadays mothers are often sent home from the hospital with a pacifier for their newborn. Obstetrical nurses have been known to use them, so don't be afraid to try one. You might also offer your cranky baby your own clean little finger. Some newborns suck their own thumbs or fists.
Distract your baby
Something to look at may make your baby forget why he was crying, at least for a while. Bright, colorful patterns may fascinate him. He will often gaze intently at postcards, wallpaper, or your clothes. Faces and mirrors are also excellent distractions, and a walk around the house to look at photographs or to peer into a mirror may calm him.