Tips For New Moms (From a Writer Who Knows)

New mom tip #2: For crying out loud!

Your baby is fussy and you’re at the breaking point. Don’t give up hope-try one or more of these
soothing tricks. One of them is bound to work:

Whisper sweet nothings. Hold her close to your body and gently sway back and forth as you murmur “shhhhhh, shhhhhh, shhhhhh” into her ear at a pretty good volume. This goes beyond the power of suggestion; that whooshing sound actually mimics the womb ambience she grew to know and love. Many babies will quiet immediately upon hearing this refrain.

Might as well jump. Again, remember that to date, the only environment she knows intimately is the inside of your body. Rarely was she static in there. Motion is familiar and therefore comforting to her. Sit on the edge of a bed, or purchase a large exercise ball or minitrampoline, and get in a little workout while you’re at it. (When she gets bigger she’ll love playing with either of these, so they’re sound long-term investments.)

Pacify her. Literally. Suckling is naturally soothing to babies (and while you might think you don’t want to go down the synthetic-sucker road, know that she’ll eventually find her thumb or fingers, which are much harder to take away when you’re ready to wean her). Pacifiers come in dozens of shapes and sizes for a reason: all babies prefer different models, typically the one you buy last. Having an assortment on hand is helpful. Newborns also enjoy sucking on their parents’ clean pinkie fingers-something dad can help with, too.

Consider the ambience. Since you likely can’t-or won’t want to-hold and “shhhhhh” her 24/7, smart companies have designed an army of CDs, noise machines, and plush toys that feature all manner of relaxing sounds and melodies. From traditional lullabies to chirping crickets, from windshield wipers to human heartbeats, there’s a sound out there to calm and comfort just about every babe on the block.

Pump up the volume. It may sound counterintuitive, but parents often report their babies find loud music, annoying radio static, or even a rowdy sporting match on TV more soothing than a whispered lullaby. Again, all babies are different, and you won’t know what floats her boat until you try it.

Be a good mummy. In other words, learn how to swaddle. This little trick is probably the most underrated weapon in the parenting arsenal. You see, babies are born with a startle reflex (technically called the “Moro reflex”) that inconveniently seems to rear its ugly head precisely as they start to drift off to sleep. If they didn’t show you how to swaddle in the hospital, Google it, buy a book on it, pick up a designated “swaddle blanket” that comes with instructions, or ask a veteran mom friend to show you the ropes. You’ll probably do it until she is at least four or five months old, so it’s worth learning to swaddle well.