How to Calm a Crying Baby, Part Two


So, as promised in Part One, here are some of my trade secrets with video demonstrations. It’s times like this I really wish I had Google Glass. These are kind of embarassingly bad. Maybe someday I’ll be able to record these in a higher quality! With lighting! and makeup! and more than two takes! and better camera angles!

Well, hopefully you’ll get the idea.

Trade Secret #0—Start clean.

Start with a baby who’s been fed, burped, and changed in the last 15-30 minutes.

Trade Secret #1—the Head Jiggle.

There are 3 ways I jiggle baby’s heads. NEVER SHAKE A BABY! When jiggling your baby’s head, always make sure that the head and neck are supported. You want a gentle head bobble to relax the baby. This isn’t a shake that’s going to sever their spinal cord.

Here are the first two methods:

Another head-jiggle method:

Trade Secret #2—How to Rock a Baby to Sleep

I don’t rock my kids to sleep every night because I don’t want to HAVE to rock my kids to sleep at night. You follow me? But when my baby is overtired and can’t settle down, I rock him and he falls asleep. Here are my tricks to rocking a baby to calm him or lull him to sleep:

  1. Hold the baby close, chest to chest. Swaddling is optional; I recommend it. (You can watch a few different ways to swaddle hereherehere, and here.)
  2. Sway from side to side while bouncing the baby.
  3. Shush the baby (Shhhh, shhh, shhh). Added benefit? It reminds you to breathe and calms you down, too.
  4. Rock him from light to shadow (rock with your back to the light). This causes the baby’s eyes to open and close more frequently and eventually roll back as they fall asleep.

Here’s the video. Again, poor quality, but you can see Lion fussing and then begin to fall asleep.

Trade Secret #3—Baby Massage

I’m not making videos about this, because there are already good videos online about them. Baby massage is great for calming fussy babies, especially if the fussiness is due to gas or colic.

This video playlist demonstrates the more common anti-colic massage techniques.

For just calming the baby, I do one of two things:

  • Rubbing or stroking the sides of the face with the sides of my thumbs. I go from the outer corner of the eye to the ear or above and around the ear. I also Shush while doing it and bring my forehead close to the baby’s. I learned this trick from a woman who works with Alzheimer sufferers.
  • Rubbing the legs just above the knees. I’m not sure why this is soothing or where I heard about it, but it works!

I use those massages on my toddler, too, when he gets worked up about something.

A colicky baby of a friend of mine greatly improves with chiropractic adjustments. I don’t suggest you try that at home, though, unless you’re a licensed chiropractor.

Trade Secret #4—Spend time with your kids

The more time you spend with your kids, the more you’ll experiment and find out what works for each baby. Captain has been holding our boys a certain way for years, and apparently it actually has a name—the “Tiger in the Tree technique.”

I frequently have one leg up on a chair or couch (half cross-legged), lay Lion in my lap, and bounce my knee. DIY bounce chair.

When Lion is really losing it (usually around the bewitching hour of 11 o’clock), I swaddle him, do head jiggle method #3, and sing “Young and Beautiful” to him. It is the ONLY thing that will stop his crying and settle him down. With one of my friends, it was Colbie Caillat on repeat. For Champ, I think I played Jack Johnson’s In Between Dreams album.

I think that’s it! If I can think of any other secrets, I’ll add them here. Any other moms have input on secrets they’d like to share?

Bewildered mother is…bewildered.

I got Little Champ a set of alphabet magnets today.

Sounds innocent enough, right? Wrong. First of all, it’s not just letters—it’s pictures, too. And they look really familiar to me, at least the barn/farm, as though I played with them as a child.

There are 26 letters and 26 pictures. I tried to match up the 26 pictures to the 26 letters.


Okay, I must be missing something here, because some of these make no sense. I need your creative help to figure it out!

Here are the ones that I figure are fairly self-explanatory:

Apple, Cow (bovine? heifer?), Dog, Elephant

Ice Cream, Kite, Lion

Octopus (cephalopod? mollusk?), Queen (monarch? royalty?), Robot

Tree (oak? deciduous?), Umbrella, Violin (instrument?)

Whale, Xylophone, Yo-yo, Zebra
(I’ve never been so grateful for the end of an alphabet)

So that leaves me with these letters:

And somehow those are supposed to match up with these images (I assume):

From top, starting at the left.

  1. Boy, right, run, walk, child, adolescent, male, saunter
  2. Girl, left, walk, run, skip, female
  3. Goldfish, fish, sea life
  4. Bunny, rabbit, hare
  5. Jet, plane
  6. Truck, dump truck, vehicle, transportation, garbage truck
  7. Farm, barn
  8. Pig, hog, swine
  9. Car, vehicle, automobile, sedan

Now, if I assume my previous pairings were correct, that leaves the following options:

  1. Boy, right, run, walk, child, adolescent, male, saunter
  2. Girl, left, walk, run, skip, female
  3. Goldfish, fish, sea life
  4. Bunny, rabbit, hare
  5. Jet, plane
  6. Truck, dump truck, vehicle, transportation, garbage truck
  7. Farm, barn
  8. Pig, hog, swine
  9. Car, vehicle, automobile, sedan

So here’s one possible solution:

  • B=Barn
  • F=Female
  • G=Garbage Truck
  • H=Hare
  • J=Jet
  • M=Male
  • N=fish???
  • P=Pig
  • S=Sedan

Seriously, Sedan? Male and Female? What on earth are these people thinking? Or else, WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY BRAIN. I feel like this shouldn’t be as complicated as it is. Should I not assume that these 26 images correspond to the 26 letters of the alphabet? Because what random set of magnets has a queen, xylophone, whale, and yo-yo?

Please help.

P.S. In case you were wondering, Google has failed me. I can’t find a single set similar to this one. I searched the magnets themselves for a brand name but couldn’t find one. Searched Google and Etsy and Ebay for vintage alphabet magnets, but none show any sets with these plastic images.
I’m guessing they are 1980s based on the car image, and the fact that the barn/farm looks familiar to me.

P.P.S. WHAT THE HECK STARTS WITH N??? I see no nest here, or newt.