Suzanne was worried and exhausted. Her two-month-old baby, Sean, was a nonstop screamer. He could cry for hours. One afternoon her sister came to watch the baby, and Suzanne bolted to the bathroom for a hot shower and a quick “escape.” Forty-five minutes later she awoke, curled up in a ball on the blue tile floor, being sprayed with ice-cold water!
Meanwhile, half a world away in the rugged Kalahari plains of northern Botswana, Nisa gave birth to a tiny girl named Chuko. Chuko was thin and delicate but despite her dainty size, she, too, was a challenging baby who cried frequently.
Nisa carried Chuko in a leather sling everywhere she went. Unlike Suzanne, she never worried when Chuko cried, because like all mothers of the !Kung San tribe, she knew exactly how to calm her baby’s crying—in seconds.
Why did Suzanne have such trouble soothing Sean’s screams?
What ancient secrets did Nisa know that helped her calm her baby so easily?
As you are about to learn, the answers to these two questions will change the way you think about babies forever! They will show you the world through your baby’s eyes and, most important, they will teach you how to calm your baby’s cries in minutes and help prolong her sleep.
Your Baby Is Born
When perfectly dry, his flesh sweet and pure, he is the most kissable object in nature.
Marion Harland, Common Sense in the Nursery, 1886
Congratulations! You’ve done a great job already! You’ve nurtured your baby from the moment of conception to your baby’s “birth”day. Having a baby is a wonderful—and wonder-full—experience that makes you laugh, cry, and stare in amazement … all at the same time.
Your top job as a new parent is to love your baby like crazy. After showering her with affection, your next two important jobs are to feed her and to calm her when she cries.
I can tell you from my twenty-five years as a pediatrician, parents who succeed at these two tasks feel proud, confident, on top of the world! They have the happiest babies and they feel like the best parents on the block. However, mothers and fathers who struggle with these tasks often end up feeling distraught.
Fortunately, feeding a baby is usually pretty straightforward. Most newborns take to sucking like they have a Ph.D. in chowing-down! Soothing a crying baby, on the other hand, can be unexpectedly challenging.
No couple expects their sweet newborn to be “difficult.” Who really listens to horror stories friends and family share? We assume our child will be an “easy” baby. That’s why so many new parents are shocked to discover how tough calming their baby’s cries can be.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying crying is bad. In fact, it’s brilliant! Leave it to nature to find such an effective way for helpless babies to get our attention. And once your baby has your attention, you probably zip down a checklist of questions and solutions:
Is she hungry? Feed her.
Is she wet? Change her diaper.
Is she lonely? Pick her up.
Is she gassy? Burp her.
Is she cold? Bundle her up.