When Cara was about a month old, she started crying a lot.
That’s saying something since she cried pretty much all of the time anyway.
From 5pm till around 1am, Cara would scream and cry and fuss and not even a boob in her mouth would calm her down. We had The Happiest Baby on the Block and swore by the thing. [Swaddling was our friend.]
Eventually, Cara’s crying and carrying on got to the point where swaddling didn’t help. Walking didn’t help. Nursing didn’t help. NOTHING helped.
I think this is how we discovered the “magic” trick but I was really lacking sleep so who knows if my memory should be trusted.
I think that I was getting ready to go somewhere and turned on the hairdryer while Cara was screaming her guts out. Cara instantly shut-up. After a very short period of time, she was asleep. If we turned the hairdryer off then she would wake up and start screaming. Needless to say, [though I will] we didn’t turn off the hairdryer.
During nap time, the hairdryer ran under her crib or her swing. At night, we left the hairdryer on for at least an hour to insure that she really was asleep and then we hoped against hope that nothing would wake her up.
Eventually, I got smart and recorded the hairdryer and then looped the thing. [I didn’t know that For Crying Out Loud existed.] Though Cara would sleep peacefully while the hairdryer was running, I couldn’t sleep for fear that the hairdryer would catch the apartment on fire.
One thing that I always found so cool about the hairdryer noise and other white noise [we’ve been known to turn the car radio to static and crank it up] is that it only works if the situation is “right” for it to work. If your kid is really awake or wet or hungry then the noise isn’t going to fix those issues. The baby will just be pissed and then you’ll have a pissed off baby plus the sound of a hairdryer shrieking in your ear.
Also, the hairdryer won’t keep them asleep. It helps them sleep to their fullest potential is how I always looked at it. Instead of being awakened by regular household noises or by stuff going on outside, the hairdryer drowns all of that out.
Anyway, I think Cara slept with her “boombox” playing hairdryer noise through the night until she was about nine months old. The “magic” had been gone for a while but it still muffled our rather loud next door neighbors. Soon after nine months, we switched to NPR at night which played classical music.
Now, Cara sleeps with nothing other than a ceiling fan running and usually sleeps around eleven hours a night.
With Oliver, we didn’t figure that we’d have to break out the hairdryer. He’s a really chill baby and is easy to calm.
But, earlier this week, he started to settle into a routine where he fussed for about an hour starting around 9pm – right when we were on our way to bed.
Oliver would act like he wanted to nurse and then would fuss and cry while at the breast. After about ten minutes of fighting with a newborn to get his arms and hands out of the way of his mouth, your nerves tend to get a tad bit frayed.
Tucker [bless his whittle heart] pulled out the hairdryer and put it on the lowest setting. Like magic, Oliver’s eyes glazed over and he settled right down. Ten minutes later he was asleep.
So, to all of you new moms, add hairdryer to your list of “must haves”.