I always thought it would be fun to be a librarian, mainly for having the power to shush people. Most new parents make the mistake of tiptoeing around their sleeping newborn, shushing everyone within a ten-mile radius. You may be shocked to discover that is exactly the OPPOSITE of what makes a baby happy. New parents are usually whispering to everyone, “Shh! Don’t wake the baby!” The Shush is usually ten times louder than the actual conversation, but who is going to argue with a new mom? No one wants to get whacked on the head with a breast pump or a jar of mashed peas.
It’s human instinct to believe that having a baby requires living in complete silence. The baby, however, is used to a womb that is louder than a lawnmower. Imagine going from the deafening noise of the womb to the shocking silence of our homes. No wonder so many babies cry!
The only shushing a mother should be doing is in her baby’s ear. When your baby is crying, try holding him by the sink and turning the faucet on full blast. The noise might make your baby stop crying, go limp with relaxation, and fall asleep in your arms. Another secret is to turn the radio or TV to a non-working station and crank up the volume of the static. You can also shush loudly into your baby’s ear or even turn on the hair dryer. Many people recommend that you should turn on the vacuum to stop a baby’s cries, but it’s not practical to lug out a heavy vacuum cleaner and plug it in while holding a screaming baby. Besides, why give yourself a reason to do more housework? The most successful endeavors are also the easiest and most convenient…shushing and turning on the sink or TV.
Some parents shove a pacifier into their baby’s mouth as soon as he begins to cry. While this does work as an immediate fix, there is a better long-term solution.
Try to tough it out and make it through the first eight weeks without giving your baby a pacifier. By that time your baby will most likely be able to keep a thumb or finger in his mouth. The alternative involves parents who have to keep getting up in the middle of the night to find their baby’s Binky. If a baby’s pacifier falls out of his mouth, he does not have the ability to search around in the dark to retrieve it. He will then cry frantically until you come rescue him.
You have to remain strong to refuse your baby a pacifier, but the final result is well worth the temporary torture. When he can keep his thumb in his mouth, he may start sleeping 8-10 hours straight through the night. If he wakes up in the middle of the night, he will simply suck his thumb until he falls back asleep.
Some people fret about how hard it might be to get a child to stop sucking his thumb. Have you ever seen someone still thumb-sucking in college? Kids usually stop on their own by age six. Everyone is afraid to tell a mom who keeps a Binky in her kid’s mouth that her child really looks like Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. But don’t throw away those pacifiers; they will really come in handy when your child learns to talk back.
By the end of their first year, most babies have discovered a lovey, an object of affection to cling to while sucking their thumb. This beloved object can at times become the family Stealth Bomber, demonstrating an uncanny ability to disrupt your life by disappearing whenever it is time to leave the house or go to bed. Do yourself a favor and buy many duplicates of whatever he chooses, just in case he loses one. Otherwise, you may have to put a pacifier in your own mouth and go back to bed.