We were riding in the car when my daughter started crying. We had just gotten back in the car after grocery shopping and we didn’t have far to go, but her piercing scream literally cripples me. Normally I’m able to hold a conversation, surf on my iPhone, or relax while my husband drives, but when my little one is crying in the back seat, all I can manage to do is cringe.
I had just fed her and her diaper was changed so I knew she was just cranky and tired, but that didn’t matter. My stomach tightens up in a knot when I hear her cry and it’s the worst when I can’t do anything about it. I sang the ABCs to her and she calmed down and fell asleep. Finally, I was able to breathe again.
I used to wonder why mothers would say they couldn’t even take a shower by themselves, or go to the bathroom alone once they had a baby? Why can’t you just put them in the playpen and let them cry for a few minutes while you do your business? I wondered. Now that I’m on the other side of the fence I understand completely. Your babies cry causes an internal reaction just for you, like a high pitched sound only a dog can hear. Except it’s a unique key only the mother of that baby can hear in a way that triggers a torturous reaction. Then on top of that, I think my daughter has the lungs of a singer and imagine she may be performing some musicals on stage someday without needing the help of a microphone. Even nurses in the hospital were amazed by her power when she was first born.
Luckily, aside from car rides when she was young (most of the time now, besides when we’re putting her in her seat, she enjoys the car) Lil’ J has been a very happy baby. But she has her bad days. Like when she had her vaccines, or when she’s teething, doesn’t feel well and wants to let us know. Over her almost eight months of life I’ve learned a thing or two about soothing her.
1. Sing to her: Her favorite song is the ABC song, but a song that always calms her down and puts her in a snuggling mood is “A Child’s Prayer” She can sit and stare at me singing that forever! I don’t have the best singing voice, but it’s nice to know she likes it.
2. Give her a bath: I know some babies hate baths but mine loves them. She recognizes the sign for bath and gets excited before I even turn the water on. I take baths with her and we play with bubbles, use her soothing Aquaphor Gentle Wash. I wash her hair and we play until her feet are almost pruny.
3. Play the “Say yes to the dress” theme song: I know this is weird but I attribute this to two things 1. Watching a marathon of Say Yes to the Dress while in labor and 2. Watching Say Yes to the Dress daily with her during maternity leave. If she’s whining at all I’ll turn on an episode on my DVR and she’ll stop and look at the TV. Look, here’s proof.
4. Show her her mobile (I made her): I’m not lying when I say she has loved this mobile since the day I brought her home. And I’m so proud. She will lay in bed and look up at it, or if I’m holding her and she’s not happy I’ll twirl it around and she’ll immediately be enthralled with the paper butterflies and shiny jewels.
5. Breastfeed: This is probably my most effective tool for soothing my daughter. I have no idea how I’d make bumps feel better, help her go to sleep when she’s overly cranky, or easily calm her down when she’s overly hungry if it wasn’t for being able to pop a boob in her mouth. I’m sure I’d find other ways but that definitely has made things easier for me.
What do you do to soothe your baby?
More tips for soothing a baby in the Comfort Zone.
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