Mamas are experts when it comes to knowing their babies. It’s never easy, however, trying to figure out why your munchkin has been crying for the past two hours.

Once the usual suspects; gas, fatigue, fever and teething have been ruled out, what’s left to try that might soothe the wails and Mama’s frustration?

Here are five little tricks that you most likely will not read in any parenting manual or expert childcare book.

Some go against conventional wisdom, some sound downright silly and still others absurd.

All of them have worked on numerous occasions including with my own two butterballs who are now grown and using the same techniques with their littles.

When desperate, in doubt, and in need of some sleep and quiet you might want to try;

1. Gentle scratching
Use a gentle up-and-down scratching motion on baby’s forearm. Start with one arm and if you see no immediate result scratch both simultaneously. Of course, I use the word “scratch” gingerly, when in reality it’s more of a “don’t allow your nails to come in contact with baby’s skin so you’re sort of rubbing” motion.

It’s possible that baby has an itch and we grown-ups know what it’s like to want relief; we use walls and rulers and try contortionist-type maneuvers because it gets pretty uncomfortable.

2. Ice cubes
Wrap one ice cube in a washcloth and make small circular motions on the bottom of baby’s foot. Once the ice begins to melt discard immediately and replace. Check to be sure baby’s foot is not on the verge of acquiring frostbite. If crying stops you can use the rest of the cube for your drink.

3. The bathroom
Relegate yourself and baby to the bathroom. Close the door. Turn on the shower (cold water so you don’t steam up the room), also the faucets in the sink and then flush the toilet. Close the lid and sit atop with baby on your lap. Flush repeatedly each time water level reaches the top. Use a gently bouncing motion with your knees once baby becomes accustomed to the white noise of the “waterfalls”. If you’re worried the water bill will increase exponentially, perform at 10-minute intervals.

4. Barbara Streisand/Andrea Bocelli/Josh Groban/Michael Buble 
These songsters have a way with babies that’s nothing short of magical. Blast the music in the next room and cradle baby on your shoulder while rocking softly back and forth. If wails turn to whimpers then ask Alexa to play more. Their dulcet voices and melodious melodies join forces to create the best lullabies. Be careful that you don’t fall asleep standing up.

5. Imitate animal sounds
Remember when you were little and parents asked you, “What sound does a cow make?”

Pretend you’ve been asked that question as a grown-up and recite as many animal noises as you can recall.

WARNING: If you do a good rooster impression, save it until the end. When all else fails, a strong and reliable “cock-a-doodle-doo” usually does the trick.

If numbers 1-5 fall short, tomorrow’s another day and you’ll be able to see and count your blessings a bit more clearly!

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Lisa Leshaw

Lisa Leshaw has worked as a mental health professional for the past 31 years. She currently conducts Parenting Skills Workshops, Group Counseling for Blended Families and Empowerment Circles for Women. As a consultant, Lisa travels throughout teaching Communication and Listening Skills, Behavioral Management Techniques and Motivational Strategies. To de-stress she performs in children's theatre and plays piano whenever requested. She is hoping to either write the next memorable musical composition or Great American Novel!

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