A Parent’s Perspective: Testimonials from the Trenches - Woodmam

The different types of shhhhing noises moms and dads come up with are inspired examples of parental ingenuity. Here’s how some parents I know used sound to guide their babies to happiness:

Patrick noticed that his son, Chance, was calmed by the sounds of aquarium pumps. So he mounted one on each side of his little boy’s crib. The noise and vibration helped Chance settle himself and fall asleep.

When Talia began screaming in the supermarket, I put my face right next to her ear and uttered a rough “shhhh” until she calmed. While this seemed rude to the people watching me, it soothed her in seconds.

Once, when Talia had a mini-meltdown at the local Federal Express office, I quieted her with this same technique. The shushing worked so well that a clerk asked me for a repeat demonstration. She told me her daughter had twins and was searching for an effective tool to relieve their crying.

Sandra, Eric, Talia, and Daniel

We turned on the radio for our fussy daughter, Camille, but instead of putting on soft music we tuned it between stations to get loud hissing static. We discovered Camille didn’t like the popping, crackly sound of static on the AM radio—she was an FM static aficionado only! Within a few minutes of tuning in to her favorite “non-station,” her face would soften and then she would close her eyes and drift into a peaceful sleep.

Hylda, Hugo, and Camille

Steve and Nancy’s six-week-old, Charlie, would only stay calm in the car if they played a CD with hair dryer sounds while they were driving. After he was four months old he no longer needed the CD to be able to tolerate car rides.

Not only did two-month-old William have serious fussy periods, but he slept so lightly that he heard every squeak in the house. His parents, Fern and Robert, discovered that the white noise of their room fan muffled the outside sounds and helped him sleep longer.

Annette calmed her baby, Sean, by calling him “Shhhh-ean.” It worked so well, the family joke became that when he was four years old, the little boy thought his name was pronounced “On”!

Main Points:

Vigorous jiggly movement can switch on your baby’s calming reflex

The three key points to successful swinging

Lullabies: What swinging sounds like when it’s put to music

The “Windshield Wiper”: A great way to calm your fussy baby when you’re tired

Eight tricks for turning a swing into your baby’s best friend

Life was so rich within the womb. Rich in noises and sounds. But mostly there was movement. Continuous movement. When the mother sits, stands, walks, turns—movement, movement, movement.

Frederick Leboyer, Loving Hands

Every night, Ellyn and Harold put their son Zachary in his stroller and rolled him repeatedly over an elevated threshold on the floor. Each time, Zack got jolted like a car racing over a speed bump. Harold sometimes bounced Zach this way one hundred times in a row to get him to stop crying. And if his son was still fussing after that—he did it one hundred times more!

Zachary’s brother, Nathaniel, preferred another type of motion to snap him out of his yelping. Ellyn and Harold held him while “bopping” to the Rolling Stones. Ellyn said over four months they almost wore out their living-room carpeting from dancing Nathaniel around for hours each night!
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