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Picture It: Soothe


How do you soothe a crying baby?

The crying began when she was about three weeks old. I said to my doctor: “What happened to my happy baby?” My doctor answered, “She woke up!”

For the first few days or weeks of a newborn’s life sleep is the main event. Then one day the baby wakes up and realizes she is out of the womb. “Put me back!” my baby cried. She could not get comfortable. No matter what we did, we could not soothe her.

I began to do some research. All of the experts said the same thing: Try to make your baby feel like she is back in the womb.

Besides food, the environment inside the womb provides a fetus with the following:

  • warmth
  • vibration
  • closeness
  • movement
  • white noise

I got to work! Swaddling did not work. Nursing her all day long did not work. Walking through the halls with her at all hours of the night did not work either. One trick I had not tried was filling her ears with white noise. What do I have around the house that makes white noise? I wondered.  I turned on the hair dryer and sat close to it with my baby. Guess what happened? My baby stopped crying. The sound of the hair dryer soothed her. Sometimes it even put her into a deep sleep. The clothes dryer worked too, but how often can you wash your clothes? (Pretty often when you have a newborn, actually.) Can you believe I used to ask people if they had a hair dryer before I went to visit with my baby? If they didn’t have one, I brought my own.

Now that you’ve heard and seen proof of this story, I’ll bet you never forget this word!

Word Forms

to soothe (verb): to calm and comfort someone who is experiencing pain or sadness
soother (noun): a small rubber or plastic nipple that a baby sucks when he or she is not drinking (also called a pacifier or binky)
soothing (adjective): comforting (The soothing music put the baby to sleep.)

Note: A hair dryer is also called a blowdryer.

Previous Picture It posts:

Do you have a picture that will help others remember a word? Pairing a word with a visual image is a good way to keep it in your brain. Each time you learn a new word, try to find a picture that defines it. If you have a picture that describes a word or phrase perfectly in English share it in the MyEC Gallery. Use the tag “Picture-It” and contact me about having it published in ESL Magazine.

Leave a comment: How do you soothe a baby? Share your tricks!

Written by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub | November 2010
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.

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