NPR logo Listener Challenge: What Is This Baby Saying?

Maternity Leave

Listener Challenge: What Is This Baby Saying?


YOUR CAPTION HERE. hide caption

toggle caption

But what on earth is baby Ike saying?

That's where you can help, dear listener. Try your hand at a caption in the comments, please.

After the jump, Alison asks for advice.

From Alison Stewart:

The day we left the hospital, a very lovely nurse said to me, "Well, we have decided Isaac has the best lungs in the nursery." I think it was a nice way to say, "Man, can your kid wail!".

It's true. He is cute as a bug during bath time and blissful after a feeding, but there will be hell to pay if he is in a mood.

Three different people (Mr. Mike Pesca, Ms. Tricia McKinney and Dr. Cool Chick from my practice) all independently told me to watch 'The Happiest Baby on the Block' DVD. Pesca even gave me his. Thanks, Mike!

On the video, soft-voiced bearded doctor advises parents about the Five S's — swaddling, side carrying, shushing, swinging and sucking. Any combo or all of the above should trigger a calming reflex. I'm kinda of worried the Fives will be the subject of his therapy sessions in 25 years.

Still, I'm trying it and sometimes it works.


For the other times, if you have any suggestions on soothing a crying newborn, this sleep-deprived radio host would love to hear from you.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

The most!

Sent by Erling Mork | 8:24 AM | 5-28-2008

I ... wan ... TEEF ... dammid!

Sent by Lars Hoel | 8:28 AM | 5-28-2008

what do you mean there's no Battlestar Galactica this weekend?

Sent by Shawn | 8:36 AM | 5-28-2008

Will the democratic primary ever end?!?!?!

Sent by Joe | 8:45 AM | 5-28-2008

Check out my Wallace Shawn impression.

Sent by Jonathan Nichols-Pethick | 8:59 AM | 5-28-2008

It's I before E except after C!

Sent by Jonathan Carpenter | 9:29 AM | 5-28-2008

Woe is me, for I am a Spurs fan!

Sent by Nancy Nichols-Pethick | 9:42 AM | 5-28-2008

Mommy, you're gonna have a present in a moment... :)

Sent by Amir Yoeli | 9:46 AM | 5-28-2008

The last piece of baby advice I got before becoming a parent was this: When all else fails, take the kid outside. And thank your lucky stars for a springtime baby.

Sent by Laura Conaway, NPR | 10:18 AM | 5-28-2008

Definitely vibration! I am telling you those S's need a V in there. The bouncy baby seats saved my life!

Sent by Channon | 10:36 AM | 5-28-2008

Give me my BOOB!

Sent by Adriana Portela | 10:37 AM | 5-28-2008

My daughter had 3 settings for the first year of her life. Nursing, sleeping, screaming. One of the only things that would calm her was being strapped in very tight to me or dad, via a baby sling, bouncing as hard as we dared on the birth/exercise ball. My husband learned to play video games bouncing up and down for hours on end. The minute she learned to walk and talk, she calmed down... a bit. Good luck, and remember the unhappy baby stage is pretty short in the scheme of things!

Sent by Dollie | 10:49 AM | 5-28-2008

"For goodness sakes woman, why won't you listen to me!"

oh and...chandeliers...the light bouncing around distracts 'em. A friend literally wore a ring in her rug as she walked around the dining room table. My dad always took me into the pool to calm me down, but you'd have to have a pool...

Sent by m.rawlins | 10:50 AM | 5-28-2008

It's clear that Ike is an Archuleta fan.

As for the crying, I have found that there are three waves of emotion: Extreme Caring ("oh, poor little fella"), Complete and Incredulous Indifference ("I know there's a screaming baby in my hands, yet somehow I am able to ignore him"), to what we'll call frustration ("Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ Somebody stop this kid") My only advice is to try and hold on to emotions one and two - and somehow keep three to a minumum.

Sent by Pete B | 10:51 AM | 5-28-2008

Place beautiful little Ike in a baby carrier and give him a nice walk outside.

Sent by Asa Spikes Jamison | 11:07 AM | 5-28-2008

You keep talking to me like I'm an idiot!

"swaddling, side carrying, shushing, swinging and sucking"

Most of these work on me, too.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 11:21 AM | 5-28-2008

It's never easy in the city - but maybe a spin in the CRV? Those car commercials with the kid in the back falling asleep weren't just hype! We also got lucky with those bouncy sling chair thingies - the ones that on the table? A calming, constant motion of any sort did seem to help. Also- VERY snug swaddling (within reason) and plenty of patience! Keep thinking "this too shall pass." Because, it eventually does...I promise!

He is, by the way, truly adorable in his angry face! Hang in there! XOXO

Sent by Sharon N | 12:30 PM | 5-28-2008

Are we voting? Jonathan's Wallace Shawn comment!

Sent by Glenn Wonacott | 12:54 PM | 5-28-2008

Hello Kitty!

Sent by Sean Powers | 1:24 PM | 5-28-2008


Sent by Sarah | 1:41 PM | 5-28-2008

Pesca interrupted my ramble story AGAIN!

Sent by Sarah | 2:16 PM | 5-28-2008

Gyah! I'm not a LOLbaby!

Sent by Sarah Lee | 2:22 PM | 5-28-2008

Help!! Where'd my Mommy go? I can't see!! Oh...wait a minute, my eyes are closed.

Sent by G. Geanine | 3:17 PM | 5-28-2008

Twitter is too slow!

Sent by Matthew Scallon | 3:39 PM | 5-28-2008

Try homeopathic camomile to sooth a fussy baby. Let a 30x dosage pellet or two dissolve under the baby's tongue. I used it with my first baby and it would take her from screaming to calm in ten seconds.

Sent by Kathy Alexander | 3:45 PM | 5-28-2008

Where's the A#%*$&% that drained the hot tub and turned on the lights!!!

Sent by Shane Cole | 4:15 PM | 5-28-2008

Note to Alison on crying baby - let Ike cry. This does not mean to ignore him or make him suffer. What I mean is, I was always so worried that my son's crying meant I was doing something wrong and I now understand that sometimes he just needed that exercise and release. Sometimes allowing babies to get a good cry out of their system will mean they'll eat, digest, and sleep better. So give yourself a break and don't think Ike's always crying to announce you're not meeting his needs.

Sent by Lex Ann | 4:48 PM | 5-28-2008

You all are TOO funny. This is making my day.
And the advice is great. Keep it coming.

Sent by Alison Stewart-NPR | 4:52 PM | 5-28-2008

"Why are the Lakers winning? I don't like them!"

My mom used to lay me faced down on her tummy to calm me down. It was the rhythm in her breathing that did the trick.

Sent by Charlie | 7:58 PM | 5-28-2008

If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times... we're doing it my way!

Advice a friend got from her pediatrician (in response to her screamer) -- put the baby in an infant seat, place it in the guest room, close the door, go downstairs, drink a glass of wine and read a book.

My friend was most offended (this was her first child), but as a mother of two I thought it made sense!

Good luck!

PS The night I ate a piece of homemade chocolate pecan pie, my oldest screamed all night. You might want to check your diet if you are breast feeding.

Sent by Elizabeth | 9:34 PM | 5-28-2008

Congrats on baby!!
Link below has a good compilation of tried and true methods - not just for "colic"...and many work with toddlers - and husbands, too! For me and my kids &/or Grandkids - Tip 4 was a true surprising help for 2 .. Tips 7 and 11 worked great for me...11 with a bounce, not just holding... May God bless you with much patience!!

Sent by Grammy | 10:03 PM | 5-28-2008

Leave Hillary alone!

Sent by Maura | 10:26 PM | 5-28-2008

Out of 3 kids, one had dairy allergy, one had (still has at 9 mos) acid reflux, and one just liked to scream.

For the dairy allergy, we switched to soy formula (after mom eliminated dairy from her diet and then gave up nursing altogether).

For the reflux, we received an RX for baby zantac, and noticed an overnight change.

For the screamer, he stopped screaming after 2 years.

Then they turn three.......

Sent by Mark | 8:03 AM | 5-29-2008

"I don't KNOW what's wrong...just fix it already!"

My pediatrician recommended putting the baby in his crib, walking outside, and letting him scream for 10 minutes. Have a cup of tea. Put ear plugs in. TAKE A BREAK. Go back and deal with him with renewed patience.

Sent by Jody | 8:17 AM | 5-29-2008

Ike's Comment: "This is part 1 of your stress management training. The entire training spans 25 years"

My Aunt had three screamers, all suffered from combinations of diary allergies and reflux. Once these two issues were addressed, they calmed right down. My own little guys get/got very distressed over sore bottoms (ample coats or maybe layers of balmex on their bottoms at every change helps this), and gas bubbles (pumping the legs, bouncing, and rubbing their back helps/ed immensely).

Sent by Anna | 11:32 AM | 5-29-2008

"We want change!"


Sent by Kerstin Upmeyer (Kittydew) | 1:32 PM | 5-29-2008

Not another picture?!?!?!?

Sent by MF | 2:54 PM | 5-29-2008

"Bounce me!"

As a mom of an 8 week old, I feel wise on this topic (ha). We are huge fans of the yoga/exercise ball. After weeks of bouncing on it I also read a chapter in a book on baby brain development titled "why babies love to bounce." Turns out it is good for them as well as soothing!!

I discovered the BPP when my baby was about a week old and the podcast has kept me sane during the 2am feedings! (Hurry back Alison, Mike Pesca is responsible for my sanity).

Sent by Melissa | 4:29 PM | 5-29-2008

When does the game start?
I want to watch it NOW!!!

Sent by Carol | 7:41 PM | 5-29-2008

Crying babies - very stressful for any mom. Put him down, leave the room and take a deep breath. He is fine and despite the cry sounding like his arm is falling off he is fine and can cry. I would take mine outside and let them cry in the open air. By three months you will have forgotten he cried like this. Unfortunately age 2 is MUCH worse.
Good Luck

Sent by Mary Ailis AIken | 9:27 PM | 5-29-2008

White noise seemed to work wonders for us.

Sent by beck | 11:13 PM | 5-29-2008

"Why do you insist on waking me up at 4:30 every morning???? You're on maternity leave, dammit!!! Put me back to bed, now, woman!!!"

Sent by Marc Naimark | 9:57 AM | 5-30-2008

I spent virtually every night from 2 am to 4 am for six months in the bathroom with the light off and the hot water running in order to calm my daughter. The sound of the water, not the kid in it. Cold water didn't work the same. (It's been nine years now and apparently I'm still incapable of stringing together a coherent sentence--sorry.) Car trips worked--sometimes.

Good luck, Alison. It will stop. Eventually.

Sent by Susie | 10:21 AM | 5-31-2008

I hate rocking horses!!!!

Sent by Abbey Graf | 3:49 AM | 6-1-2008

"Cold water didn't work the same." Huh? You poor deranged-from-sleep-deprivation woman. To encourage Alison, please tell her it took less than nine years.


Sent by Marc Naimark | 4:56 AM | 6-1-2008