What are some effective soothing techniques?
By Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell
Sounds can be soothing. Experts think babies enjoy static sounds—a washing machine, vacuum cleaner, fan, or running water— because they mimic the body noises baby heard in the womb. And don't underestimate how soothing your own singing voice can be (for both you and baby).

It might help both of you to just step outside, take a walk or give baby a stroller ride. A ride in the car is a classic, as the rhythmic motion and humming sounds can calm baby right down. The rocking motion of a swing or bouncer with soothing vibrations can be similarly calming. Some babies are calmed by a bath.

Sometimes there will be nothing you can do—your baby will just have to blow off steam. Put baby down after you've done all you can. You'll be surprised at how much more together baby is after the steam goes away. If you feel really stressed yourself, the baby will pick up on your tension. Gentle rocking and patting are good, but never shake a baby—you can do serious harm.

It's one thing to fall asleep, and it's another to stay asleep! Lullaby-playing mobiles and other soothing products can encourage your baby to stay in peaceful slumber, even in the middle of the night. If you've tried everything, and your pediatrician has given your child a clean bill of health, don't feel guilty about setting your infant in a safe place and letting the screams fly for a few minutes. Stay within your child's view, and offer comforting words, kisses, and hugs.

By the first birthday, your child may have connected with a comfort object—a favorite toy or blanket, for example. (For children under a year old, don't place stuffed animals or blankets in the crib.)