Your baby just spent nine months cozied up in your warm womb, being rocked and swayed as you went about your day, his soundtrack the comforting thump of your heartbeat, the whoosh of blood rushing through your veins, and, sweetest of all, the lilt of your voice. Now that he's out in the big, wide, loud, and brightly lit world, the best way to help him settle down when he's wailing is by recreating his pre-birth home, with these essential items:
- By 15 weeks, a fetus can suck his thumb. No wonder once they're born babies find solace in slurping on a pacifier. Some little suckers are picky, so you may have to try several before you find the shape your baby likes. Just be sure the size is right (pacifiers are usually labeled 0-6 Months, 6-12 Months, and so on).
- SWADDLING BLANKET
- Receiving blankets are just the right size for wrapping up your little bambino burrito-style. (The fibers in flannel ones tend to "stick," so you bundle stays swaddled.) Or you can buy special blankets with little pouches to tuck tiny arms into or with Velcro tabs for snug-as-a-bug swaddling.
- SOOTHING SOUNDS OR MUSIC
- Anything that resembles the soundtrack of the womb will be music to a fussy newborn's ear--"white" noise (from a machine or the whirr of a fan), a stuffed animal or other toy that makes a steady thump-thump-thump, like a heartbeat; a CD of lullabies or other gentle music--especially if any vocals are sung by a woman.
- ROCKING CHAIR OR GLIDER
- You'll be spending a lot of time in this essential piece of nursery furniture, so make sure it's well-made, comfortable, easy-to-clean, and, if you have room, wide enough for your child to snuggle beside you when he's older.
- One more thing we'd like to share: Calming a crying baby can be a challenge. Be sure to take plenty of breaks (that means, say "yes!" to anyone who offers to help out, or recruit someone if you have to, even for an hour or two). Before you know it, your baby will reward your efforts with the sweetest payoff--a smile.