More Soothing Tips
When Lucy Rosenberg's twin babies were both bawling uncontrollably and she'd exhausted her other soothing tricks, she'd take them for a walk or to the park. "The sudden blast of fresh air made them open their eyes and look around, while the smells and the sounds of the outdoors relaxed them," says the Clarkston, Michigan, mom.
Why it works: Infants can tell the difference between indoors and outdoors right from birth, and they appreciate the change of scenery. "Being inside all day can make anybody groggy or cranky," says Dr. Honig. "The warm sun or a breeze feels good to a baby." Spending time outdoors may even help your child sleep better at night. Just make sure he's dressed appropriately for the weather and shaded from direct sunlight.
Buy the White Noise Baby app, which has 17 soothing sounds, including a conch shell, a car ride, and wind chimes ($1; for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch). Not that plugged in? The Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine ($33; google.com/shopping) lets you choose from a dozen nature sounds. You can also get Baby's White Noise Sampler ($14 for the CD or $11 for the MP3 version; purewhitenoise.com), or download free sounds online at simplynoise.com.
Why it works: Rhythmic sounds mimic the womb and make your baby feel secure, explains Faure. However, since every child is different you'll need to see which ones do the trick.
Stroking your baby's skin may help her get over a crying fit -- and might even prevent the next one.
Why it works: Skin-to-skin contact is soothing and reassuring to babies. "Touch increases the feel-good hormone serotonin and decreases the stress hormone cortisol in your baby's body as well as your own,? says Tina Allen, a certified pediatric massage therapist in Vancouver, Washington. When she's upset, place her against your chest so she can feel your skin and hear your heartbeat. When she's less fussy, try some gentle massaging, moving your hands from her chest toward her arms, from her hips down to her feet, and down along her back. "This will help you both relax," adds Allen.
Sometimes leaving your baby in someone else's hands for a while can make all the difference. It might be Dad's football hold that helps him drift off to sleep or Grandma's gentle bouncing that quiets his cries.
Why it works: It's natural to hold your baby the same way every time, but he could be craving a change. When Sandi Sullivan, of Villa Park, Illinois, had a hard time soothing her baby one day, she asked her spouse to give it a shot. As soon as he stood up and propped little David up on his shoulder, the crying stopped. "Maybe it was the positioning, or it could be that our baby likes heights, since my husband is 6-foot-3," says Sullivan.
Originally published in the March 2012 issue of Parents magazine.
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