Making a Shhhh-ound Investment for Your Baby - Woodmam

Continuous intense shhhhing can be hard to do, so parents have invented methods of making white noise to entrance their fussy babies. For example, some Amazonian Indians present new mothers with a baby sling decorated with monkey bones that make a rattling white noise with her every move.

However, if you and your family are out of monkey bones, I suggest you acquire a mechanical sound assistant. Some people feel strange using these, but if you can drive a machine to work every day, why not use one to help make your baby happy? Here are ten useful shhhh substitutes that can help your baby in the throes of colic:

Testing Out Your Baby’s Shhhh Sensitivity

If your baby is fussy but not hungry, try this experiment to test her shhhh sensitivity:

Swaddle your baby and place her over your shoulder. Put your mouth right by her ear and shhhh softly for ten seconds. If she continues to cry, let your shhhh become louder and harsher.

When you have found the right sound she will quiet in seconds, as if suddenly entranced. Practice making the shhhh at different pitches and see what works best with your baby.

After your infant calms, gradually lower the volume of your sound. If she starts to wail again, just crank back up the intensity.

1. A CD with rough, rumbling womb sounds

2. A room fan or bathroom exhaust fan

3. A noisy appliance, like a hair dryer, air filter, or vacuum cleaner

4. A toy bear with a recording of the sounds of the uterus

5. Static on the radio or baby monitor

6. The clothes dryer with sneakers or tennis balls inside (never leave the baby alone on a dryer … she can fall off)

7. A noise machine with rough, rumbling womb sounds

8. A dishwasher

9. Running water

10. A car ride

Weird Noises You Can Make at Home (But Don’t Let Your Friends Hear You)

For soothing their newborn’s cries, Alise says her husband swears by a deep, resonating hum that’s a cross between shushing and the vibrations of a bouncy seat.

Tom and Karen discovered their son, Ben, quieted when they moaned. “He gets alert when I make a loud moan, like when I was in labor or like a bunch of Buddhist monks chanting together. Ben likes the sound to be deep and vibratory.”


Several noises other than a simple shhhh can help your crying baby come down for a soft landing. Some parents I’ve worked with make a rhythmic chant like Native Americans doing a rain dance (Hey … ho, ho, ho); others sound more like foghorns or buzzing bees.

Pediatrician William Sears recommends what he calls the “neck nestle.” You snuggle your baby’s head into the groove between your chest and jaw, with your voice box pressed against her head, and make deep groaning sounds in the back of your throat.

The best way to know exactly the right level of sound your baby needs is to gradually increase the volume and see how she responds.

These final tips will help you use your shhhh-ound investment wisely:

Harsh whooshing sounds work better than the patter of rain or the sound of a heartbeat.

Use a white noise CD so you can play it at the volume that works the best and lower it to a quieter rumble after your baby is deeply asleep.

Place the sound one to six feet away from your baby’s ears to get the maximum effect with the lowest volume.

If the appliance is really loud, like a hair dryer, move it at least six feet away after the baby calms.

Use your CD all night to help your baby sleep longer and better. (See Chapter 15.)

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