The Happiest Baby on the Block: Shhh…


Chapter 10 is all about the third S, the Shh… Karp points out that a Shh…. is calming even for an adult. One reader told me that the 5 S’s worked for her son, though only the Shh… lasted. Last month when Brayden had surgery, he came out of anesthesia quite confused and upset, as most children do. My husband held him and Shh…’d him. I remember noticing that because I had been reading this book.

The Shh… can be any loud, white noise (page 140). White noise switches on the calming reflex. To Shh… effectively (page 145):


  • Place your mouth 2-4 inches from baby’s ear
  • Shh….
  • Raise your volume of Shh… to match the level of noise your baby is crying at.
  • Don’t soften the Shh… until her crying noise level decreases.

Karp says at first, it might take your baby a minute or two to react to the Shh…, but as you get good and your baby gets used to it, it should take seconds.

He also says the noise doesn’t need to be a Shh… necessarily. It can be a hum or a chant. He also lists ten other ideas (page 147):

  • Noisy appliance like a blow dryer or vacuum
  • Fan, microwave fan, or bathroom fan
  • Running water
  • White noise machine
  • CD with white noise sounds
  • Toy bear with a recording of uterus sounds
  • Static on radio or baby monitor
  • Clothes dryer with sneakers or tennis balls inside (but don’t put baby on the dryer)
  • Dishwasher
  • Car ride

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12 thoughts on “The Happiest Baby on the Block: Shhh…”

  1. When William was a baby (over 4 years ago), my DH created a CD with a water faucet noise. He put several tracks on the one CD and we just put it on repeat. I guess we were a little ahead of our time. There are now machines and CDs you can buy that have this sound. I agree that the shh’ing is a great way to calm a baby.

  2. Did you add the “don’t put the baby in the dryer” or was that in the book?!?We have Tre sleep with white noise. Not only does it calm him down and help him put himself back to sleep, it blocks out house noise. It’s great!

  3. I am a huge advocate for white noise machines… my friend suggested we borrow hers for Peyton and it helped push her through the 45 minute sleep intruder the very first day! Ever since then her naps have been awesome! I got the Sleep Mate off Amazon and it is worth the $45 or so bucks I spent! Her naps have been longer and she falls asleep faster with this thing on. It sounds like a fan and blocks all outside noise out. My dog can bark, I can vacuum or whatever and she does not wake up.

  4. I’m also a big believer in a simple “shh” sound to calm a baby, along with rhythmic, firm pats on the back. Both do wonders for calming upset kids, soothing crying babies, and getting both to get to sleep. This is the same reason young babies usually fall right to sleep on airplanes, the white noise and steady vibrations just soothe them to sleep.Btw, I love the blog’s new look, very feminine and modern/classic!

  5. Val – LOVE the new look! You did a marvelous job :-)I agree with everyone – the shhing really works. We’ve always used a fan in Brady’s room and it defintely helps to block out ‘outside’ noise. And I’ve always shh…d him if he was upset and it immediately calms him.Thanks for the post!

  6. White noise can definitely help a baby with naps, but it can also become a prop. Just a warning: My 10 month old has slept with a fan in his room almost since birth. Now whenever we go anywhere and we need him to take a nap in someone else’s house we have to take a portable fan if we expect him to sleep at all!

  7. Jamie, Don’t put baby ON the dryer…I am pretty sure that was in the book. I guess if you are going to suggest a dryer you need to protect yourself from lawsuits, you know? lolThanks for your thoughts!

  8. Thanks Amanda! My kids are weird because neither of them were/are soothed by those typical white noise things. I have the child who is wide awake on the plane 🙂

  9. Thanks Janelle. That is definitely something to be mindful of and watch for. I like to have my kids sleep so that if we are somewhere and weren’t planning on them sleeping there, they can just do it without us having to try to recreate things just like at home. It makes things easier 🙂


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