Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Baby Soothing 101

I wish I could say I was teaching a class called Baby Soothing 101, but I cannot. You would think that after six babies, I would be an expert on the subject. Oh, how I wish I were an expert!

What I have learned is that each baby has his/her own very distinct personality (even when they are biological siblings!) and each personality calls for it's own kind of care. Like they say in The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding: Seventh Revised Edition (La Leche League International Book), all babies are inherently "good", some are just "easier to live with"! Now, on this I am an expert!

While I absolutely love learning my new baby's personality, the lessons I am taught are not always easy. All of my babies have had their fussy days, but most have been of generally happy dispositions. However, two babies have given me a particularly rough time while I waited for their nervous systems to mature (their identities will be kept anonymous, but suffice to say I may be referring to my latest newborn and her 2nd oldest brother!).

Even between these two harder-to-live-with babies, there are distinct differences, though. 
My son was colicky all night long, every night for the first six months (not even a slight exaggeration), hated car rides, but was a happy camper during daylight hours, and loved to go shopping.
My daughter sleeps quite peacefully during the night, is happy in the morning, loves car rides, but howls like a banshee from noon until 8 or 9 at night and cannot stand to be in a store for more than 3 minutes.

There are pros and cons to both types of these high-needs babies, but, for some unknown reason, I have not been able to choose which kind of colicky baby I receive!

There are some tricks which have worked for both types, and while they are nothing that has not been published in baby books everywhere, I felt that they were worth repeating here. So, what has worked for our family during these difficult months?

1)  The oven vent and box fans.  White noise drowns out most of the noise that a baby's immature and sensitive nervous system cannot process. They are so successful for our babies, that even my 14 year old cannot sleep soundly without some sort of white noise in his room.

2)  Moby Wrap Original 100% Cotton Solid Baby Carrier, Chocolate While I haven't used this particular carrier/sling until this most recent baby, it is the best one I have ever used. Hands down. I've tried all of them (the bjorns, the snuglis, the mayawraps, etc), and not one of them ( has proven to be as effective at calming a screaming baby as this one has. It also has the added bonus of fitting any body size and type, which is great when Dad wants to take a turn soothing the Little Dear. (The word "chocolate" is not up there by accident, either, as it helps to munch on some while you are pacing the floor!)

3) ANY homeopathic colic remedy. One of my favorites has always beenHyland's Colic Tablets, 125 tablets (Pack of 3), but over the last few years it has become more difficult to find at my local  drugstore, so I have taken to purchasing the colic remedy my local herbal store offers. Either way, these homeopathic remedies tend to work in less than a minute (no kidding!) and are safe to use frequently, so you don't have the worry of over-medicating your child.

4) Swaddling, swaddling, swaddling. I know, I know. (Wow, that was a LOT of repetition!) You are going to tell me how your baby hates being swaddled, and that may be true. But, what I have learned is that most babies fight against the swaddling for the first minute or two, and then they magically quiet down and fall asleep. It's worth giving it a try for a few minutes, anyway. (Daddies are usually the best at swaddling, for some reason!)

5) GO OUTSIDE!!! Barring sub-zero temperatures, wrapping up a colicky baby and stepping out into the elements can bring on a much-needed break for everyone. Maybe it's the temperature change, or air, or the feel of being in a really big space, but it usually works! And, anyone who is still inside gets a chance to take the cotton out of their ears and enjoy a moment of silence.

6) Get a blog! This does not soothe your baby a bit, but it does provide a distraction for you! There is nothing like venting about a colicky baby to help bring levity to your situation.

So, in a swaddled nutshell, there are my colic "cures". Good luck, God Bless, and "this too shall pass"!


  1. I agree 100 percent with all of them. I've had a very similar experience as you and can't believe I waited until baby no.6 to get a wrap. They are fantastic.

  2. @Becca: Thanks! I can't believe I waited so long, either!