The first time I tried to get a baby to stop crying was the night my brother and sister-in-law left my niece with my partner and I for a few hours. She was 3 months old, exclusively breastfed, never had a bottle, and had never really been alone with anyone else. A recipe for success, right? Not so much. It only took 20 minutes before I was desperately trying the things every mom does when she's trying to get her kid to stop crying. Unfortunately, though, none of those things actually worked.
I ended up taking her out in stroller for a walk around the block, and eventually abandoned that plan for fear the neighbors would think I was torturing an infant. In the end, I channeled my best Aunt Monica from Friends, in which she comforts Rachel's newborn with that annoying shushing noise every mom uses while simultaneously hating. Eventually, we had a calm niece and I had a glimpse into what trying to comfort a newborn is really like. I can't say the same "shushing" trick always worked with my daughter, although the first thing she did when she got a baby doll was start patting its back and repeatedly shush over and over again, so perhaps it sunk in subconsciously.
For all those moms battling crying babes at the moment, you're not alone. It's not easy, to be sure, but if you try a few (or all, or a combination) of the following "please dear child stop crying" tactics, you might just find yourself in a quiet room, with a peaceful baby by your side.
You shush until you think your head might explode. I used to get so sick of that noise and how it made my teeth hurt, especially when I was pushing air through them over and over again for what seemed like hours on end. I finally figured a way to shush (more like a whistle) that didn't drive me quite so insane.
Apparently the combination of shushing and patting a baby is supposed to be magical and calm them right down. I think it's perhaps a little more therapeutic for you, the mom, so you feel like you're doing something productive while you're shushing and patting and repeating the process over and over again.
My sister used to bounce on an exercise ball to get my niece to sleep, which did seem to make the bouncing motion a little easier on the knees (although I think it looked like a lot of work, personally).
Maybe it's my 30-year-old knees, but that standing bounce always felt like it was slowly eroding my cartilage away.
I have a terrible memory, so I can't remember more than a few lines from most songs. Guys, Twinkle Twinkle is such a short song, and I still don't know all the lines. Props to the moms who chose a lullaby for their baby and managed to remember more than a few words of it.
Every so often, when the crying would get really inconsolable, I used to try going outside to see if a change of scenery would end my daughter's crying fit. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it worked for only a minute. Either way and, at the very least, it scared the neighbors into ignoring us entirely.
This is when things start to get a little desperate and you start pleading with the baby to just please stop crying because you simply can't take it anymore. The baby can almost always sense the panic in your voice, for the record, as you wonder whether or not they will ever stop crying.
"You don't need to cry anymore, I've changed your diaper, fed you, and completed the last seven things that should have calmed you down!"
I get that talking rationally to your child sounds great in theory, and reasoning seems like it just might be crazy enough to work when you've spent the last who knows how long shushing and patting with no results. I'll let you in on a little secret though: it doesn't work. Ever.
Even if praying isn't your thing, I'm pretty sure the sound of a crying baby who just won't stop has driven every mama to pray at some point.
Bribing a crying baby is totally normal, right? Wait, don't answer that.
I don't mean give up forever, but there came a point when I had to give up for a few minutes in order to get the strength and patience to keep going. Take a deep breath, put your baby in a safe, cozy spot, and return with a little bit of composure so you can start all over again.
After all, your baby can't cry forever.