First time parenthood is a best. If you're anything like me, you're thrown into a relentless world of heart-wrenching guilt when your baby cries and you can't seem to do anything to soothe them. In my experience new parents will take any advice to calm their sweet peanut, which is why I've gathered the following ways to soothe your baby, according to other moms (and a dad!).
My first baby was colicky, so my partner and I spent hours upon hours trying to come up with new ways to soothe our little one. In the end, what worked one day didn't work the other day. We set a swing on the fastest setting imaginable, swaddled our newborn tightly, and swung the baby back and forth while shushing constantly. The only thing that seemed to work consistently was driving around in a car while listening to NPR's Frick and Frack on CarTalk. Our second child, though much easier to soothe, had a particular preference for having one foot held while being patted on his raised butt. The third is by far the easiest to soothe, in my humble opinion. The boob does it every time. Unfortunately, my partner doesn't have a boob baby wants, so he has a special combination bounce and "hey, hey, hey," that seems to do the trick.
The ultimate trick, however, is knowing that no one thing works for every baby. So if you're looking for more things to try, read what these 14 moms, and one dad, did to soothe their babies:
"When my son was a colicky newborn, holding him by the loud bathroom fan was one of the only things that would calm him down. It's funny now, but it was pretty nerve-wracking at the time! We used to call the thing Mr. Fan. Like, 'OK, we're gonna go see Mr. Fan now.'"
"How can you tell if a woman is a mother at the checkout line? She's swaying back in forth while waiting in line."
"This has changed over the years. When [my son] was a baby, I would pick him up and sway and say soothing things like, 'there, there, it's OK,' and give him kisses. Sometimes that wouldn't work and I would whisk him into another room, or even all around the house (the movement seemed to help him relax a bit). When all else failed, taking him outside seemed to work often, or if that wasn't an option we would sometimes use a quick YouTube cartoon (songs like the Numbers Train became total hits).
As he's gotten older, I ask him if he wants or needs a hug or a kiss, or to be picked up, and he lets me know. Going outside and/or changing venues in general still works, as do small, fun distractions, like blowing bubbles, making silly faces or noises, making stuffed animals talk, and that sort of thing. When he's inconsolable, though, I am not afraid to use a screen."
"I used to hold my son and sway and say 'shhh' repeatedly to calm him. Even now that he's 3 year old, if I make that noise he'll immediately put his thumb in his mouth and calm down."
"Soft kisses, singing, and if they get into a little fit I blow gently on their face. It gives them a second to take their breath."
"Just boob. No rocking, swaying, shushing, or my own tears. My husband says he still catches himself pushing the grocery cart back and forth to soothe non-existent babies. Driving was huge for my first babe, too. I also used mechanical swings. Ergo all the time helps in a pinch but, yeah, a lot of boob!"
"Just boob for the last one. It's the only thing that helps. With my son, I sang. He's 4 years old now and will still ask me to sing to him."
"The vacuum. When it comes to fingernail trimming or changing a dirty diaper, they're done best when one of us is vacuuming at the same time."
"I rub their backs and [give them] a boob. Boob always fixed everything. With my twins who I didn't nurse as long, I always bounced them. Sometimes I would put them in their car seat and swing it. It worked better than those baby swings, and I developed awesome triceps. LOL!"
"A lot of the above, plus bouncing on a yoga ball, going for walks with them in the carrier, and [my kid] has a lovey that's still really helpful."
"[My partner and I] would read medical books in the middle of the night and Google music."
"My kids were very susceptible to water. Both of them responded really well to ocean sounds, either via a white noise machine or 10 hour YouTube videos of ocean waves. My youngest also fell asleep every time we gave her a bath for the first three months of her life, which was pretty adorable."
"I'm not a mom, but my mom swears I ruined my sisters because I used to soothe them by rubbing their backs when they were being fussy as babies, and now that's how they like to fall asleep."
"My daughter was colicky as all get-out. As a result, [my partner and I] tried swaying, shushing, humming, singing, and changing the environment. Above all else, though, she responded best to getting swaddled really tight. I mean really tight. She LOVED it. Beyond that, she'd respond really well to being held very close to the body, nice and tight as well, as we swayed her back and forth and shushed in her ear. The movement was not as important as the tightness though; a tight swaddle and a tight embrace. The shush that worked well was not a "shhhhh" kind of a shush, but more of a "wush" kind of a shush, if that makes any sense. We read that some babies respond well to sounds that simulated the sound of blood pumping through mama's arteries while baby was in the womb. We tried our best to simulate that, and she responded well, especially when the wushing sound was nice and loud."
"I definitely did the shushing, and it was magic. When they were newborns it was an instant fix, unless they needed boobs. If they needed a boob, then boobs were the instant fix.
"But I wanted to note that so many people were shocked at how quiet my kids were, but then super judgmental when I told them the reason why was because 'I give them what they want.' The number of people 'training' infants, and then being mad when they didn't cooperate, was astounding."