Talk The Soothing Talk

When Livi was a baby and would cry all the time, I got a lot of advice, both solicited and not, on how to calm and soothe her. I would also search online for anything that might do the trick and give us a break.

As a result, we tried a lot of different techniques, gadgets, and baby equipment. Some of it didn’t work; some made a (slight) difference. But we also found a few ways that really worked for us. I will cover both, the hits and the misses. High need babies are so unpredictable; what didn’t work for us, may just be what you are looking for.

_ _ _

I talked to Livi. All. The. Time.

Talking to Livi was one of the things that got me through some tough days. It didn’t always work but sometimes it would stop her from crying. She would listen and her eyes would follow every move I made.

At first it was awkward to talk like this all the time but I got used to it fast. You may wonder what you could possibly talk about to a baby. And the answer is, anything and everything.

Most of the time, I would just describe what I was doing or what we would do next. Often, I would tell her that I was sorry that she was having such a rough time. I would tell her that things would get better soon and that we had to hang in there and help each other.

I would always try to keep it upbeat and use a soothing and happy voice. It not only set the right mood for her but also for me. And it calmed both of us. When I felt overwhelmed or frustrated, talking through it made a big difference.

Listening to me talk was soothing to Livi as a newborn because she had listened to me while growing in my belly. Later, when she was able to look around and take in her surroundings, it was a great way to entertain her and keep her occupied for a few minutes.

I also noticed other advantages further down the road:

Livi was an early babbler and then talker and she has quite the vocabulary for her age. Now, I am not saying that my talking to her all the time had anything to do with it. After all babies do things in their own time, when they are good and ready. But I’d like to think that it made at least a difference.

I also got into the habit of telling Livi what we had planned for the day, what we would do next, and why we were doing certain things. Now that she is a high need toddler, it is a great way to help her cope with transitions and it’s natural for both of us to approach changes and challenges this way.

So, next time your baby cries, try talking to her. Tell her a story or talk about your day and she may just stop to listen to you.

And don’t despair if it doesn’t work. Keep trying other things. One will eventually do the trick.

17 comments on “Talk The Soothing Talk

  1. For C is was singing. I could sing for hours. My husband and I would sing conversations. Strangely enough, he now hates when I sing. Does he relate it to his early days of screaming? Hard to say. But he’s gradually becoming comfortable with me singing to baby #2. But she really prefers the talking. Good eye contact and an engaging tone of voice settle her right down. I’ve found that even if talking or singing doesn’t calm either of them, it calms me!

    • hnMom says:

      Yes, singing is definitely another great way to soothe a baby. Livi still like me singing to her and we listen to music and sing almost every day.
      And yes, it always claimed me down as well. 🙂

  2. Deni Lyn says:

    I talked to Mac a good bit too. He just seemed to like it that way. Now when he’s getting a little cranked up in the car or stroller, we find singing works pretty well.

    I too have found that explaining things – especially our plans for the day or the next few minutes helps. . .Even something like, “Would it be ok if I put you in the pack and play while Mommy brushes her teeth and washes her face?” seem to help him be more relaxed and less cranky.

    It seems to help manage his expectations. . .just because he doesn’t talk so much himself yet, doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand. And I think as a toddler, life can be a little frustrating. You can’t quite do or say everything you want to. . .

    I try to take that into consideration (in an effort to thwart a minor meltdown). I mean, I’d be kinda’ peeved too if someone made me stay in a little “cage” and wandered off for a bit without letting me know they would be back soon or what would be happening next. . .Ha!

    • hnMom says:

      Absolutely, being a toddler must be frustrating at times. They definitely understand more and want to do and say more than they are capable of.
      I find it amazing that you can still put him in the pack and play. I haven’t been able to do that for at least half a year.

      • Deni Lyn says:

        I have only ever used it when I take him to the lower level of the house while I’m flipping laundry or brushing my teeth, etc. And it’s contains toys he’s not used to seeing routinely. I think that’s the only reason he tolerates it. Although today he played in his crib long enough for me to put away his laundry and switch out some curtains in his room so maybe he’s getting slightly more patient with his nutso mother? Ha.

      • hnMom says:

        That’s awesome. I hope it stays that way. 🙂

      • Deni Lyn says:

        Me too. . .But it appears he’s rapidly mastering scaling nearly vertical surfaces so I’m thinking the pack and play days are definitely numbered. 🙂

      • hnMom says:

        Oh, I hadn’t even thought about that. When Livi didn’t want to stay in the pack and play anymore, we used one of those baby play yard setups.
        When she started to walk, we basically turned our living room into a huge play yard. We removed anything dangerous, even the coffee table, and used the play yard panels to gate off the TV and other stuff. Now it’s pretty much a huge play area with a sofe
        Now I know this might be a bit extreme and you have limited space. I also remember reading you’ve done something similar already.
        Anyway, it works for now and aside from the sofa, there is nothing to climb on.
        But I’m sure you’ll find a good solution. You always do. 🙂

  3. Loved this post. I was not bright enough to talk incessantly from the beginning, and I have a late talker. I wish I had known before…although I am still not good at talking non-stop. It just doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m getting better at is now that I can see she understands me.

    FYI – I had a rough day with the little one yesterday, and found that singing the alphabet song to her really helped. Will post about my last 2 days soon. I can’t ever seem to just have a normal day, can I?! 😉

    • Don’t worry, we talked a lot too and had a late talker…now he won’t stop! Enjoy the lack of chatter now. We worried so much and now we find ourselves saying, “Please stop talking for just a moment so I can think.” 🙂

      • hnMom says:

        Ha, so true. 🙂

      • Ha ha ha. Now THAT was a nice thing to tell me – THANK YOU! She is quick to pick up so many other things, and is slowly getting the hang of making words, but she is far from talking like some other kids too. Nice to know it may not be all my fault!!! 😉 I worry about everything, but I figure she will start talking when she’s good and ready!!! Thanks again – I heart you!

      • Depending on your state, you may be entitled to free screening. C was behind enough we went ahead and did the screening for speech and language delays. It was reassuring to find out that even though he was at the 15th percentile for expressive language (speaking), they stopped testing him at the 85th percentile for receptive language (understanding) because they ran out of time and there were obviously no concerns. It was good to know he understood so much, even if he couldn’t talk very well. He’s since caught up in expressive. Very little about our kids development has as much to do with us as it does with their personalities. Around here we’re always saying that development does not pass through stations like a train…it doesn’t have to happen in order and being late to one “station” doesn’t mean a kid will be late to adulthood or other final destinations. “-)

      • Funny enough, our audiologist gave me the info for this – she said that the wait time is often months and I could get a head start by putting our names on the list and then just canceling the appt if things “improved”. When I brought this up to her doctor at her 15-month check-up, he looked at me like I was crazy and told me she was fine. I wanted to hug him (but didn’t).

        The funny thing is, we had a major breakthrough over the weekend. I started to teach her the alphabet, and now she is saying letters. And this morning she said, “HI”! Go figure! So I guess it really is true that they do things when they are READY, not when we want them to – ha!

        Thanks SO much for your kind words. It means a lot. And now i am heading over to your blog!

    • hnMom says:

      Oh, I didn’t mean to imply that only if you talk to your baby all the time, will she start to talk herself. I really think it depends on the child. I have a friend with 3 kids. She talked to all of them a lot. And the youngest one even had 2 siblings talking to him when he was a baby. Yet he was a late talker. Maybe he thought there was enough talking in the house already. 😉
      But seriously, Livi always did take the next step when she was good and ready whether that was walking or talking or whatever. Bubby eats and sleeps much better and I would love that for Livi. 🙂

      • Oh, I didn’t think you were implying that at all. I learned myself that I should’ve been doing that from an early age. But I know that she will just do things when she’s good and ready, and I try not to stress. She’s starting to take more interest in trying to say things, and since I have hearing issues myself, I think I just miss some stuff. Like when my mother was in town and we were laughing at how she claps whenever we say “GOOD GIRL!”, I was surprised when my Mom said, “she just said good girl!” It wasn’t clear and because we were clapping and yelling, I missed it. So she likely says a lot more than I realize – ha!

        Don’t stress too much about the sleeping and eating. Livi will get the hang of it when she’s ready. I figure they don’t go to university eating purees and needing us to nurse them to sleep (one hopes, anyway!), so one of these days she’ll grow out of it! Hang in there. Have you had any luck with the sleep??

      • hnMom says:

        Not too much progress yet with her sleeping. She’s been teething (eye teeth and possibly her 2nd molars) and she seems to have nightmares or something or maybe it’s developmental as she is now crying in her sleep. She is also clingy and whiny during the day again. No idea what is going on but both naps and nights have gotten worse again. We’ll see.

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