How to calm a crying baby, part two: the results
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As many of you know I am a first time mom tending to a brand new baby boy. Recently at my wits end I turned to the Internet for ways to help calm my crying baby.
I'd like to thank all the readers who provided such wonderfully creative and helpful comments with suggestions on how to calm my crying baby. This was several weeks ago when my son was about seven weeks old. Now he is nine weeks old. He still cries from time to time, and he had a doesy of a day yesterday, but I tried some of the suggestions provided and am here to report on what worked...at least what worked last week!
As for the conventional approaches, we tried two separate swings. One is a regular old swing with built in music. The other was a new-fangled swing into which you fit your infant carrier. The first swing worked miracles, although only for a short time. The baby enjoyed the music and the swaying. He did not appreciate the infant carrier swing, but I believe that had more to do with the angle of the infant carrier than anything. Although kiddo cannot yet hold up his head for too long a period of time, he loves being in the more upright swing so he can look around, and more precisely, at me. This swing occupies him and frees up my hands as well. The swing method normally works for about twenty minutes.
Next up is the bjorn, and old standby of many moms. The baby tends to protest being placed in the bjorn at first, then after screaming for a few moments falls instantly asleep. I get free hands for about as long as I can tolerate the weight with my back (which aches all the time these days, I tell you!) and only so long as I am walking. The moment I sit down, the kiddo protests. Again, I think this has to do with the angle of the bjorn as baby enjoys being close to mommy.
I tried the sling several times over the past few weeks, and, I've got to tell you, I've never seen someone hate something so much in my life. My son DETESTS the sling. Really. You'd think there were scorpions in there stinging him all over. Sheesh! I even tried several different placements with the sling and none of them worked. It's too bad, too, because the sling is pretty and requisitely pricey because of it.
Now for the less conventional ideas (or, maybe they are conventional and I just never heard of them before--after all, I am new to this mommy thing). As noted, the vacuum cleaner did wonders--and kept our floor clean too. Gotta love the multi-tasking aspect of that option!
I also tried running the shower. That worked too, although I didn't use that tactic for more than the time it took for me to establish that it would work because I didn't want to waste water. I put screaming kiddo down, turned on the water and enjoyed his silence. I turned the water off. After a slight delay the screaming resumed. I turned the shower back on. He stopped crying. The whole effect was almost creepy. I probably won't use that method unless I'm desperate, but it's good to have as many options in the arsenal as possible.
Sometimes it was as simple as changing location. We moved from the living room to the kitchen, and from there to the bedroom. A few times we went into the hall. While not always effective, there were times when simply walking into another room did the trick.
Swaddling, shooshing, cuddling, singing and the pacifier all had very mixed results. Sometimes they worked, and sometimes they didn't. Often, if one of these worked it was only for a few minutes, but I've learned how to get a LOT done in a tiny span of time. That's the beauty of this whole experiment--I've become very efficient and an excellent multi-tasker.
Sometimes, I've found that nothing other than mommy will do. And I don't mind that one bit. I love being needed and am glad I can comfort my son. He seems to appreciate my taking care of him too. Much of the time when I pick him up he stops crying asap and eventually falls to sleep in my arms. There isn't much in life more precious than that.
So, to everyone who offered sage advice, I thank you. For the times when my arms are not 100% available I now have a usable arsenal of ideas to calm the baby. Thanks ever so much for sharing your insights!