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Sanity Saving Baby Soothers

An ice-cream sundae may ease our stress, but it won't stave off your little sweetie's anxiety attack. When a diaper change just doesn't cut it, what to do? Here, Babytalk readers share tricks that trigger the calming reflex in their tiny terrors:

Music therapy

"When my son was upset, I put on 'Angel' by Lionel Ritchie and danced while holding him in my arms. He loved to be twirled around and laughed when I would dip him."
Lisa Reitz, Merrick, NY

"With our daughter, it was rounds and rounds of 'You Are My Sunshine.' For our three-month-old twin boys, it's the seventies rock band Journey. One day while they were screaming in the car, my husband put in the Journey CD. Within seconds, they'd both stopped crying."
Melissa Palestro, Poughkeepsie, NY

"The Wiggles!"
Nancy Cohan, Fort Edward, NY

Singing the praises of lullabies

"When my son is gassy, I lay him on my lap and sing 'The Wheels on the Bus' while I pump his legs to relieve the gas."
Ginny Gallo-Dowdakin, Sleepy Hollow, IL

"If I can't calm my daughter down, I whisper in her ear a song I've made up. She has to stop screaming in order to hear me. I think all babies are soothed by their mother's voice, and she calms down and listens to my little song."
Kerrie Cantwell, Albuquerque, NM

The nipple effect

"My youngest daughter was a comfort nurser and wanted to breastfeed whenever she was upset. It worked, but it was a pain trying to wean her!"
Angela Ferguson, Fairdale, KY

"My son likes to have me all to himself, but the biggest soother is breastfeeding."
Natasha Daley, Pearl City, HI

"Nursing. Nothing else does the trick."
Melissa Iacoli, Mooresville, IN

Baby swingers

"My one-month-old son loves to be held facing my chest in a sling. I can sway, walk around, or attend to his two-year-old sister, and he's fast asleep in no time. Then I easily slip off the sling and lay him down in his bassinet. He doesn't even realize I've put him down."
Bemina Rohde, Cheektowaga, NY

"We heard about the five S's (swaddling, holding a baby on his side or stomach, shushing sounds, swinging, and sucking) and immediately purchased "The Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD, by Harvey Karp, M.D. It really works! Our son responded best to shushing and swinging. We recommend it to every expecting couple that we know."
Nicole Elbertson, Harrisburg, PA

"For our anniversary the summer after our daughter was born, my husband bought me a porch swing. We put it on the deck off our kitchen. After a few minutes of sitting on my lap on the swing, my fussy daughter would calm right down."
Denise Koster, Hugo, CO

The white (noise) stuff

"We spent hours trying to figure out what would comfort our colicky first daughter. We finally discovered that when we swaddled her tightly and walked back and forth on the front porch while it was raining, she would stop crying and go right to sleep. Luckily she was born in March, so we had a lot of rain!"
Julie Cowles, Topeka, KS

"My daughter loved the sound of water. When she was an infant, I would put her in the infant seat and turn on the shower. It worked like a charm! She also liked listening to the bubbles in our Jacuzzi tub. It was a great way to calm her down and lull her to sleep, while I took a much-needed, relaxing bath."
Jackie Brehm Edmondson, Glencoe, AL

 

"Our colicky baby instantly fell asleep one day when I was blow-drying my hair. Since we couldn't run a vacuum or blow-dryer all night, I bought a For Crying Out Loud! CD of white noise that includes the sounds of a vacuum, a blow-dryer, car wipers and rain, a washing machine, and waves on a beach. It saved our sanity, and from then on we all slept like babies!"
Janet Gibson, Alma, MI

 

"White noise works!"
Melissa Prince, Long Beach, CA

Cuddle buddies

"For both of my kids, I turn off all other distractions, including the radio, TV, and telephone, and cuddle while walking around and softly talking to them. I think it's knowing they have all my attention, which is what they really want, that calms them down."
Kristi Vasquez, Port Royal, SC

"Anytime my daughter is fussy, all she needs is a good cuddle and rock and she'll fall asleep or coo happily."
Lizzie Roscoe, Villa Park, IL

"Lots of cuddles works best. Most of the time they just want more 'mommy time,' and I'm happy to give it to them."
Mia Musciano-Howard, Fayetteville, GA

"Just add water. During the fussiest hours, I find that a bath really helps. Sometimes I bring her into the bath with me, which lets us both calm down and relax."
Leesa Chalk Suzman, Scarsdale, NY

"With my little girl, I devote my attention entirely to her, giving her a minute to feel secure and loved. It doesn't take long before she's ready to wiggle free to pursue her own explorations again."
Nicholle Hansel-Middleman, St. Louis, MO

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