Calming Baby Abigail

When Abigail was a newborn until about 12 months, it was sometimes very trying to get her to calm down from crying. I recall trying to quiet her when she was just a few months old by putting her in a Baby Bjorn, wearing her on my chest, and going for a walk. The bouncing, being held tight, the cool air, the change of scenery could help calm her. But none of that was working. I made it 1/2 a block and had to go home because it  felt like I had strapped a bomb to my chest that was constantly going off.  It was very distressing.

It was very helpful for me to have a list of things to try. In a frazzled state, it’s so easy to forget to try the basic calming techniques. I put this list on the refrigerator and referred to it often when trying to calm Abigail. Going down the list, and sometimes starting from the top again also gave me hope and “something to do” when nothing was working.

Getting Abigail to sleep well

The Happy Sleeper by Turgeon has a cry-it-out system that works in 2-3 nights. Essentially it’s (p129) “Go in after she’s crying for 5 minutes and give the exact same calming statement and leave (even though she’s still unhappy). Repeat until she sleeps, about 20-60 minutes. Night 2 is probably the worst.” (Once we built up the resolve to follow this technique, it worked!)

The Baby Sleep Book has lots of good little tips

The No-Cry Sleep Solution has lots of good little tips

Feeding Abigail: Tips from Rebecca

  • Get her mostly calm before feeding. Rebecca bounced on the ball, gave pacifier, held her tight, all at the same time.
  • hold her upright-ish and very close
  • don’t tip bottle too much
  • burp her often, whenever she starts to fuss. burp 3 ways: pat back with moderate force, rub up back, pat up the back
  • initially have the nipple partially-mostly in her mouth. When she’s latched, put it nearly all the way in. If all the way in first, she may gag.

First Round

Questions to ask yourself:

  • #1 hungry?
  • #2 wet diaper?
  • #3 sleepy?
  • #4 hot or cold?
  • #5 overstimulated?



  • nurse or offer bottle
  • check/change diaper
  • hold her
  • hold her and bounce her in all different ways. Heel tap, sway left and right, jump all the way into the air, different jumping rhythms, twisting, not moving, knee bends, wide stance, narrow stance, jiggling, bouncing just with arms…
  • set her down
  • check for cold fingers and toes
  • Hair dryer
  • Baby Bjorn bouncey chair
  • bouncing her on the yoga ball
  • put her in the car seat and swing her
  • put her in the car seat and bounce it on the yoga ball
  • swing or rock in car seat
  • pacifier
  • roll her side to side, getting gas out
  • hold her sideways: butt in the crook of Lee’s right arm, Lee’s right hand holding her torso, her head held with the crook of Lee’s left arm with her eyes just peeking out, maybe she is sucking Lee’s bicep
  • Abigail sucking on the crook of Lee’s elbow, while he holds her
  • a short walk up and down the walkway
  • go for a walk around the block  in the baby bjorn/baby k’tan
  • mechanical swing
  • Baby gym
  • wrap in blanket, snuggle
  • pat or rub back
  • talk to her in upbeat, positive tones
  • sing a song with long, low tones
  • hum or shhhh
  • play music
  • white noise app on phone
  • distract with toy
  • show her a mirror and her reflection
  • play with the dog
  • put my face really close to hers, act crazy and tickle her
  • breastfeed
  • give her something out of the ordinary (different from all her toys) to play with like an empty tissue box, half full water bottle, clear plastic tops from her bottle or sippy cup, anything new and interesting that makes noise.
  • crinkle a bag, paper, plastic, shopping, for ziplock…
  • stand her in the sink and let the water faucet just barely drip on her hands
  • listen to the clothes dryer together
  • show her large, high contrast things like paper silhouettes
  • Sing a little song with hand movements
  • change of person
  • something to chew on
  • something to eat
  • Take her clothes off
  • dance with her to a modern song, IE Sara Lugo – The One
  • 5 S’s from Happiest Baby DVD
    • Swaddle (#1)
    • Side or stomach position (#2)
    • Shush (#3)
    • Swing (#4)
    • Suck (#5)

Experimental (they don’t necessarily work yet)

  • turn the lights off and on  / cover her eyes for a moment
  • blowing in her face on her hairline or by the side of her head (from Carla B.)
  • Go in the shower with her (from Carla B.)

From Carla: one of our most effective tips was to put a heating blanket in the bassinet while I nursed the babies for the last time before going to sleep, so the transfer to the bassinet wasn’t a cold shock after being next to another warm body.

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