10 February 2006

Clothes dryer can calm a colicky baby

When a certain baby we know was nine weeks old, the hours between 5-7pm were filled with crying. Endless, heartbreaking, confounding wails, which we couldn't calm, no matter how much we rocked, cooed or cried ourselves. A slightly bored advice nurse at his pediatrician's office suggested the clothes dryer. Not that we throw him in on Low for 20 minutes, but that we place his bouncy seat, with him strapped in it, next to the warm, vibrating, white-noise producing box. We did (we would have done almost anything at that point), and -- boom -- he was out.

Just be sure to move the baby (or reset the dryer) before that God-awful buzzer moves you back to Square One.

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White noise is really helpful for this sort of situation. We found that turning on our vacuum cleaner was amazingly effective. After an hour of trying to address every possible reason why baby was crying, we'd just turn on the ol' Electrolux (in an adjacent room - it was too loud to be in the baby's room) and the whooshing noise would do something magic... baby would quiet down and go back to sleep, often in less than 30 seconds. We also have a Sharper Image "sound soother" (our "whoosher"), which was nearly as effective and a lot easier on Mom and Dad.

When our son would get fussy and over stimulated at night we would turn all the lights off in the living room and put the television on static. The noise and the little "ants" marching around the screen would put him out fast! Also the radio static was good for nights when he wouldn't stay asleep.

I have made some low-fi recordings of various white noise sources using my cell phone. I have made them available for download at http://freewhitenoisesounds.googlepages.com.

Let me know if you'd like to hear recordings of any other sources and I'll see what I can do.

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