Sound effects quieten fussy babies - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sound effects quieten fussy babies

October 22, 2004
by Nesita Kwan

Parents who've been through it know how hard it is to watch their child crying for hours, inconsolable no matter what they do. One Chicago mother became so determined to help her son that she invented a CD that's given some the gift of silence.

It started when Ethan Robins was just two weeks old. It was a struggle,” said mom Sonia Robins. “I mean he would cry for three, four hours at a time, almost every afternoon.”

First time mother Sonia Robins, was going crazy. “You know we danced around with him around the house, took him for walks outside. There wasn't anything physically wrong with him. He wasn't sick.”

Finally, exhausted, she went on line and bought a CD. “We joked that it was almost like superman and kryptonite, I mean, he just, it's like he comes to his knees and he calms right down.”

The Chicago inventor describes it as the white noise of the womb, the whooshing sound a baby hears in utero, woven in with the sounds of digestion.

"Hush baby" inventor Joan Petrillo says she was a desperate inventor. Her now 16-month-old son was diagnosed with such inconsolable colic; she took him to a recording studio and exhaustively searched for the sounds that soothed him most.

“We'd actually burn them onto CD's, and then take them home, and try them at his fussiest times to see what was most effective.”

After six week of labor, a CD was born, then another baby, a daughter. And now, Petrillo says she's sold 1,200 hush baby CD’s. “We tried this in the early seventies when my other son was born who had colic, and it didn't work at all,” said Northwestern Pediatrician Dr. Mark Weissbluth.

Weissbluth remembers trying a similar recording, decades ago, when it came out on vinyl. An expert on fussy babies, he's written a book on it, and he doesn't doubt the CD can be helpful to some babies. But he says old-fashioned TLC is just as good. "So parents the bottom line is you don't have to buy things to soothe your baby. You have enough resources at home, your arms to rock the baby, you can encourage sucking. You can sing to the baby, even if you don't have a professional voice.”

But at least for Sonia Robins and Joan Petrillo, those first months of motherhood were made sweeter by the sounds of digestion, and then the sound of silence. "It's not something you pop in on a Saturday night for yourself and your husband. But you'll love that CD when you find out it's effective and it stops your baby's crying."

If you're interested in sounds that quiet a colicky baby, you can visit the hush baby website at www.hush-baby.com .

 posted at 2:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com