Grumpy Baby? 9 Ways to Turn that Frown Upside Down

Happy, giggling, laughing, and smiling babies are the most enjoyable beings in the entire world.

Instead of a bundle of joy, do you have a grumpy baby on your hands?

In this article, we'll discuss the most common causes for grumpy babies and 9 tips for how to turn your baby's frown upside down!

Whether they’re laughing at your funny face or cracking up at the dog, a baby’s joy and laughter can warm even the coldest of hearts.

A moody baby is something that almost nobody prepares for. I mean, who actually thinks that babies get the grumps, right? They’re supposed to be bubbling with joy! So what happens when they’re not?

When the day comes that your little ball of sunshine is a grumpy Gus, it may be a little unnerving…

“Did I break him? Is he depressed? Was it the Gerber?? I knew I should’ve bought Earth’s Best Organic!” *weeps inconsolably*

It’s okay dear.

The truth is, there are a multitude of reasons as to why your little bundle of joy is suddenly serving you RBF (resting bi baby face) and is not amused with you or any of your foolish shenanigans.

It's not possible to KNOW why the baby is grumpy, because baby can’t talk. All you can really do is guess and hope for the best, right? Right.

So what do you do when your baby is grumpy? How do you turn that little frown upside down?

grumpy baby

Why is My Baby Grumpy?

The first step to making baby happy is determining what’s wrong in the first place. Remember: trial and error, mama.

The secret is go down the proverbial list of baby care in order to narrow down your answer. It can take a few tries to get it right.

The most common causes of a grumpy baby are:

1. Soiled diaper

2. Hungry/Thirsty

3. Gassy

5. Tired or Overtired

6. Too hot or too cold

7. Pain

8. Teething

9. Growth spurt

10. Needs to be held

11. Impossible to please

After you’ve narrowed down your list and determined the cause of your baby’s grumpiness (if you didn’t that’s okay), it’s time to turn him from grumpy Gus back to bubbling and joyful baby.

Here are the top 9 ways to get your baby smiling again:

1. Change His Diaper

I mean, duh. If baby is irritable from a soiled diaper, then change it. You’ll be surprised just how much a fresh new diaper can change your baby’s entire mood.

2. Let Him Rest

Some babies just need to be left alone in order to wind down and go to sleep. Overstimulation can cause babies to become very stressed and anxious, so take him into a dark, quiet room and put him to sleep. When he wakes up he’ll be a completely different baby!

3. Fill His Tummy

We all get a little grumpy when we’re hungry, right? I mean, “hangry”- the conjunction of hungry and angry- is an actual thing now (I saw it on Buzzfeed so it has to be legit).

Give the baby something to fill his tummy and make him happy again. Nothing says happiness like food.


4. Give Him Something to Drink

Sometimes a dehydrated or thirsty baby can come down with the grumps. Some moms even opt to give their baby milk or diluted fruit juice when he first wakes up in order to get his system up and running.

Signs of dehydration include: sunken eyes and soft spots, sleepiness, irritability, thirst, dry mouth, no tears and decreased urination.

5. Burp Him

Gas is a real party pooper and since babies can’t control their bodies yet, they don’t know how to pass gas on their own (which is a blessing and curse). If your baby is gaseous, try burping him in order to ease his tummy. You can also try changing bottles or formula that might be causing gas in your baby (learn more).

If he isn’t burping, try rowing his feet in a bicycling motion toward his stomach in order to encourage the gas to move down the intestine. Sometimes even gently holding the baby’s legs up against the stomach can help relax the anus enough for gas and bowel movements to come through if he’s having trouble pooping.

6. Play With Him

Some babies get grumpy when they’re bored. I mean, sitting around in a bouncer or swing watching everyone walk past you can get very boring after a while.

Put your baby down on the floor and play with him! Show him his little piggies, make his stuffed animals dance around him…bust out the Tupperware!

7. Ease Any Pain

If baby is in pain, your best bet would be to find the source of the pain and ease it as much as you can.

Whether baby is teething, hit his head on the coffee table or got a paper cut from a book, your little one will be very, very unhappy until that pain is attended to and the boo-boos are kissed.

If he’s teething, break out one of the 280,129 teething rings you got at your baby shower, find a few that he likes the best and keep them clean and in the freezer for easy rotation. Not only will they ease his toothache, but they’ll also keep him busy and distracted.

8. Dance and Sing With Him

Children are very responsive to song and music, which is why it’s encouraged to sing and dance with your baby as often as possible.

Not only can you show off your horrible great vocal skills, but you can dust off those horrendous awesome dance moves as well! No matter what the case may be, baby will appreciate the motion and will more than likely join you in singing a verse or two…

9. Hold Him

If you’ve exhausted all of your options and find that baby is still unsatisfied (yes, there will be days like this), just cuddle and relax.

Sometimes baby just wants to be held. Whether he feels funky because of an impending growth spurt, or maybe even a headache, being in mommy’s arms will certainly help him feel a little better.

Your closeness is something that not only comforts, but it regulates his breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels. Fact of the matter is, babies need to be held from time to time and no, holding your baby “too much” will not spoil him.

Remember, you can’t spoil a baby with too much love and attention.


So while no one has all of the answers on how to make a baby happy, one thing is certain: happy babies are far more common than cranky babies.

If your baby is just having one of those days, just remember to be accommodating, comforting and understanding.

It’s just temporary, mama.

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