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Parents Panel: What one thing has worked to calm your crying baby?

Endless mystery crying can be scary for a new parent, so it pays to have a few tricks up your sleeve.


AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. With that in mind, we’ve launched TheJournal.ie Parents Panel.

This week, we’re asking our panel for their tried-and-tested tricks for soothing endless tears. What one thing has worked to calm your crying baby?

Here’s what our panel had to say…

Parents Panel All 7

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly.

Dad’s magic hold
We used the ‘magic hold’ – his back to your chest and your arms wrapped around his tummy. Fortunately, this works best when employed by males so that meant dad was on duty. We also used to recite lines from Charlie’s favourite book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. It was amazing: he could be screaming and then would stop to listen.

- Kait Strickland

Being held – but only by me
The only thing that worked to soothe my sons’ crying was being wrapped up and in my arms. I became a pro at one-handed sandwich making and one-handed dish washing.

- Suzie Kelly

Lumpy Bumpy
Our son has a soft toy he’s had since he was about six months old called Lumpy Bunny. Even now, at three years old, Lumpy Bunny and a cuddle is what he looks for if he’s upset. We are currently on Lumpy Bunny numbers two and three…

- Olly Keegan

dav Ed and Lumpy Bumpy hanging out. Source: Olly Keegan

Cuddles and gym balls
Tymek is almost 20 months now and cuddles still work to calm his crying. Aside from that, I’ve tried bouncing on the gym ball with him in my arms. At least these days when there’s a little bit more communication he can tell us what’s wrong and why he’s crying – although many times he doesn’t know himself.

- Marta Lisiecka

Bon Jovi, obviously
Music has a very calming effect on Ellie – especially Bon Jovi because I listen to it all the time! Aside from that, the main thing that worked for me was skin to skin contact. Even now at two years of age that will usually settle her.

- Denise Cumiskey

A warm bed and the boob
The advice I always give when asked about new babies is to make sure baby has a warm bed and a boob, and you will have a quiet life. Breastfeeding and co-sleeping made such a difference for us, because if ever a baby was unsettled or a bit grizzly, you could always fix it with a feed and a snuggle.

- Susannah O’Brien

shutterstock_624521201 Source: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images

No crying it out
We chose never to let our children cry it out. Crying at night receives immediate attention and whatever form of soothing is required. It doesn’t always work straight away and some episodes can be very hard going but we do not see the alternative as fair.

- Ross Boxshall

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A visit to the osteopath
I took my youngest for cranial osteopathy because of some breastfeeding issues early on, but it seemed to have a positive impact on her in general. She was very relaxed afterwards and just seemed to be generally content. I did the same with my second child. It may be coincidence but I like to think it helped.

- Denise Cahill

Low light and no eye contact
In those first few months I used to keep the light low if I went in to comfort Cliodhna. I wouldn’t engage her in eye contact or play and that seemed to work. We now have an 8 month old baby who almost always sleeps the night away happily.

- Ríona Flood

shutterstock_642153874 Source: Shutterstock/Kateryniuk

Buggy zooms
Over-tiredness is the one that can be most difficult to settle, so we often zoomed around the house with the buggy to have them nod off. The best tip of all is to be proactive about tiredness. Try to predict when it could potentially be an issue and get them to sleep before it all goes wrong. If we were really stuck, popping the dodie into the top of a bottle of gripe water would help them to suck their dodie harder and sleep more easily.

- Alan Dooley

Dora The Explorer and lots of rocking
When Nathan was young, I would rock him in his pram while he watched Dora and move him with stealth like abilities to his cot once he fell asleep. I remember one particularly difficult evening with him in my arms trying to soothe him to sleep. Finally, exhausted, I sat down on the sofa and we both fell asleep in front of the TV.  My first thought when I woke was that I couldn’t remember putting him to bed. I hadn’t realised that he was on my chest. In my semi-conscious state of awareness, I stood up, put Nathan on the sofa and proceeded to search the house for him!

- Ken Hyland

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