I once met a man with a powerful shush.
His shush was so effective that apparently no baby—no matter how colicky, fussy, tired or hungry—could withstand it. With a wailing infant on his chest, this guy could restore calm in about five breaths.
Shhhhhh. Shhhhhhh. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh. Then blissful silence. Happy baby. Happy Mommy. Happy Daddy.
He discovered the power of his shush first with his own children, then with the children of close relatives. Soon he was fielding requests to shush neighbor’s babies and babies at nearby daycare centers.
His shush was so good that he decided to record and share his shush, so others could benefit from the peace and quiet it could bring—by playing it for fussy babies on their iPhones.
I heard the man’s shush firsthand. It was impressive, surprisingly forceful and sibilant. Even though my shush had done a pretty good job on my own three kids, it suddenly seemed inadequate.
The theory behind the effectiveness of shushing is simple: The shush sound replicates what babies hear in the womb, triggering a calming reflex. Each shush imitates the beating heart and the rush of the bloodstream.
When it comes to soothing sounds, there are other, more mechanical solutions available as well. There are numerous “baby soothers” that use a combination of sounds and lights in an attempt to bring on the calming reflex. Lots of parents swear by them. Some use traditional lullabies, classical music, sounds from nature like rain or surf. And some employ “white noise.”
White noise, like white light, is a combination: White light is a combination of all light frequencies; white noise is a combination of all audible tones. Just as it’s impossible to pick out any single instrument when an entire orchestra is playing the same note, white noise can trick your ears with its all-in-one sound. This is what makes white noise ideal for blocking out unwanted clamor. It’s the property that makes it so useful for soothing infants. Grownups, too.
Many an adult has discovered the soothing power of white noise: It can be deployed in the bedroom to block other sources of sound and provide a more peaceful sleeping environment. It’s also widely used in medical offices, where confidentiality and peacefulness are held at a premium. And then there are airplanes.
It’s in the cramped and noisy interior of a commercial airline that most of us were first introduced to the notion of “noise cancelation.” I vividly remember the first time I saw the blissful face of a guy sporting a pair of Bose QuietComfort noise-canceling headphones.
In partnership with Chevrolet, Bose has now brought noise cancelation in for a very quiet landing. The all-new 2014 Chevrolet Impala features active noise-canceling technology on all its four-cylinder models, making an already comfortable environment even more quiet.
Which brings us back to fussy babies—because every parent knows that a ride in the car is one sure way to calm them. With the inclusion of this Bose active noise-canceling technology, could the Impala be the greatest baby soother of all time?
I think I’ll call the man with the amazing shush. It seems like it’s time for a showdown.
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Clay Nichols is co-founder and editor of DadLabs.com.