We’ve all been in situations where we can’t escape the sounds of a baby wailing. Some situations are much worse than others. For example, sitting next to a screaming baby on an airplane is probably the single worst travel experience one might face in a lifetime. There is no escape, and no set of headphones or earplugs can truly drown out the shrill shrieks of a newborn in the air for the first time. Screaming babies in movie theaters are almost just as bad when you realize you’ve wasted $15 on a movie you can’t hear. For the life of me I can’t comprehend why someone would bring a newborn to see “Les Miserables” at 9:00pm on a Friday, but that story is for another time.

One place you might hear a screaming baby is in your own home when the neighbors bring back their bundle of joy from the hospital. The receiving end is bad enough, but for new parents, the struggle can be equally as stressful as they try calming their little one down to keep their neighbors from calling the landlord. If you are a new mom and you’re desperately trying to keep your baby from disturbing the peace in your community, there are a few tricks you can try.

First and foremost, apologize to the neighbors before they complain so that there is no tension. Visit each of them and explain that you are just as frustrated, and consider buying new sets of earplugs for each as a peace offering. Also, try explaining why your baby is crying (teething, colic, etc.), and tell them when the phase should be ending.

Studies show that keeping your baby in a strict routine is the best way to minimize crying, because external stimuli will be minimized. Change your babies eating and sleeping schedules as little as possible. Swaddling also helps if a screaming fit has ensued. If you’re afraid your neighbors are about to picket outside your door, take baby for a drive to get him out of the house. He might also calm down from the vibrations of the car, which should inspire you to get a vibrating baby seat. Many parents call these seats their saviors when they can’t take another tantrum.

With the right escape plan and a maybe a homemade batch of cookies or two, your baby’s crying won’t send your neighbors into a tizzy.

Source: Maria Blom et al: Health Care Interventions for Excessive Crying in infants: Regularity With and Without Swaddling. Journal of Child Health Care Volume 13 Issue 2 June 2009

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