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Home » Advice and Tips, Baby, Calming

Another (controversial?) way to calm a fussy or crying baby

Submitted by on Monday, 8 September 200816 Comments
Blow dryers...not just for moms anymore

Blow dryers...not just for moms anymore

I did a search on this topic before starting to write this, and found that people are not necessarily on the same page with this calming technique.  So I want to start this post by suggesting that before trying any of the calming techniques I suggest here, please make sure your baby has been fed and has a clean diaper first.  Many of these techniques will not work on a baby that is hungry or has a big poo in her diaper.

I know to many this may be common sense, and I don’t mean to treat you, my readers, like idiots, but based on what I have seen on various sites and comments, I need to explicitly state everything.  Otherwise some raging know-it-all (who is probably not even a parent) will come on here and post a comment like “well, this won’t work if the baby is hungry,” or “why don’t you get to the root of the problem rather than just turning on a mute button?” and so on and so on.

That is not to say you should not leave a comment if you disagree with me…I just want to be sure there are no misunderstandings with what I am writing.

So what is all this fuss about?  Well, a blow dryer.  Know also to some as, a hair dryer.  Known to Don King as, a wind tunnel (see here).

Let me explain.

After the birth or our first son, our midwife came over for a check-up.  We happened to have to change our boy’s diaper while she was there.  After we wiped and cleaned the his bum region, our midwife suggested we use a blow dryer to dry it up.  So we tried it out and were amazed at how relaxed and laid back we was while we had the blow dryer on and gently blew some air over him (do not attempt to use Don King’s blow dryer to do this).

I will pause here for some important points:

  • Do not use hot air (use a warm setting if you have one).
  • Hold the dryer at a distance from the baby so it only gets a gentle breeze.
  • Do not blow the air in your baby’s face.
  • If you are doing this while the baby is naked or sans diaper/pants, use your hand to create a barrier between the airflow and the baby’s privvies, as this is a sensitive area where a gust of air might be a bit shocking or unappreciated.

Please please please do not use hot air or put this too close to the baby. And please monitor the temperature of the baby to make sure you don’t burn it or overheat it.

I have seen some people writing that it is not the airflow that calms the baby but rather the white noise that the blow dryer creates when it is turned on.  So you can also try just having the blow dryer on without even pointing it at your baby.

With our daughter, we use this once in awhile, either when changing her diaper, or as a last resort when she is fussy.

When changing her diaper, we usually do it near the end of the diaper change, just before we put on the new diaper and sometimes also while we are putting the new diaper on.  We find she really enjoys it and this makes the whole diaper changing process run more smoothly for us all.

As a last resort, when she has been fed and we are sure she does not want to eat anymore, and we have changed her diaper, and we have tried other ways to calm her that haven’t worked, we lie her down on our bed and use the blow dryer.  This works, but we rarely need it with her.  With our son we needed it a lot more, because he had more difficulties with gas and colic than our daughter does.

So there you have it.  If you are looking for a last resort calming technique and nothing else is working, likely because your baby has an upset tummy or is just feeling fussy, give this a try.  If it works as well for you as it has for us, you will be glad you did.  Just be sure to follow all precautions I have given here and use good judgment.  A blow dryer is not a toy.  Do not let your baby stick the blow dryer in its mouth.  And by all means, do not let your baby plug it in or unplug it.  And keep the cord away from the baby too.

Please join the jam and share your comments on this wonderful, controversial, baby calming method.

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  • [...] some white noise, perhaps using a blow dryer (you may or may not like this idea, but it works for [...]

  • sofea's mummy says:

    Hi !! My 4 month old daughter calms down when we turned on the hairdryer too. Not only does she calms down, it helps her go to sleep. Works like magic. When she’s extremely fussy n cannot go to sleep easily, i just turn on the hairdryer for few minutes n keep patting her to sleep n i must say it works.However my worry is that i heard using a hairdryer is actually dangerous on the brain. Even on adults !! More so on babies. This is due to electric static or smthg like that in the hairdryer motor. what do u think? I do hope it’s not true, becoz we do use the hairdryer quite often n i really dont want to endanger my baby.

  • Head Jammer says:

    Yeah, the hairdryer worked like magic for us too, but we had to stop it eventually because we found that she also needed it at night time, and that was too much of a disturbance for us! I haven’t heard anything about a blowdryer being dangerous on the brain. It is probably just an old wive’s tale. Besides, you don’t really put the blow dryer very close to the baby’s head anyways… usually you put it somewhere in the room, mainly for the white noise it creates. Another option is to just burn a CD of a blowdryer sound, and put it in a radio on repeat!

  • Kristina N. says:

    This works so well with my 7 week old daughter, we started doing this to help clear up and prevent diaper rash and everyone told me I was crazy but it works to dry her bum and calm her down, one thing I learned is not to hold her bum off the changing table, as you would when you lift it up to set a new diaper under, while you’re drying because the dryer seems to trigger her urge to pee and the pee goes with the gravity up to her belly and then it’s a diaper and outfit change and that just pisses her off :D My blow dryer is now permanently plugged in by the changing table.

  • Head Jammer says:

    Congrats on your 7 week old Kristina and thanks for your comment… you brought up a very good point about the pee too, thanks for that!

  • Space Ape says:

    Yup, blow dryer works like a charm. All we need to do is turn it on and it can take an extremely fussy crying fit from top-of-lungs crying to quiet and soothed in under 10 seconds. Many times this is all that we need to keep her distracted and comforted. We don’t blow it on her, it’s just the white noise that helps to soothe.

  • Head Jammer says:

    Hi Space Ape, thanks for your comment! Glad to hear it works for you too!

  • Erin says:

    I am adding to this post late, but we just used the blow dryer method after our 10 weeker cried for 2 hours straight. Worked so well!

  • Mary Jo says:

    Please do not put the blow dryer in the crib wth the baby. I work at a hospital and we have seen several very young babies with burns from the dryer. As the baby moves, the dryer can come in contact with the baby. Also as the dryer is running it can rotate.

  • Head Jammer says:

    Good point and tip Mary Jo!

  • Irene says:

    I discovered this by accident because I was watching my son and drying my hair in the same room. I had a moment of epiphany as I saw him drift off to sleep to the sound of the dryer! Now I use the noise to help him get to sleep at night – he only needs it for 2 minutes before he gets sleepy. THANK YOU PHILIPS

  • Head Jammer says:

    Hi Irene, indeed, it really helped us too! It was just hard to wean her off of it after, but we managed, and it definitely was a lifesaver for us many times!

  • melmacianalf says:

    Just used the hair drier to make my 6 week old son sleep in 10 seconds. Usually it takes about 30 minutes to sooth him. I also used the hair drier earlier today to make him suck his pacifier which he hardly likes. I think it is the noise that helps and not the warm air b’coz I keep the drier pointed away from him.

  • Head Jammer says:

    Hi Melma, yes, you are right, it is the noise that helps… I find the warm air soothes them if they are crying, but just the sound from the blow dryer can make them fall asleep without it being pointed at them.

  • Joyce says:

    This definitely worked. The hair dryer was like an on and off cry switch for my baby. As soon as I would turn it on he would stop…and it always put him to sleep. It was definitely the noise, because I never pointed the air towards him, but it worked wonders. I will definitely use this technique on any child I have in the future!

  • Head Jammer says:

    Hi Joyce! Thank you for your comment! We are using the white noise of the blow dryer on our third child right now… like you said, it is like an on/off switch, it is quite amazing.

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