Sorry this one's so late! Got caught up with other things last night.
One suggestion almost everyone makes to help soothe babies is singing but what I realized when I first started singing to Derek, I was singing more to myself than to him. Not in a selfish way, more like a I-need-to-be-reminded-to-keep-my-sanity way, especially at 3 am! So I chose songs that had messages I wanted to impart to him and would remind me as to why I'm committing myself to less sleep and playing a continuous game of Guess the Wail (or Guess the Babble during happier times!). They would keep me focused as to how I'm parenting, who I'm parenting and remind me to make wise decisions during tough times that will lay down a solid parenting foundation for future days that will hold other joys and struggles.
The songs I chose are Christian-based but you can use any song that will help soothe you as you soothe your baby. Mine are the following:
This Little Light Of Mine (learn the song and lyrics here; fun gospel version here)
I chose this song because I wanted to remind myself to raise up a child who would be a light wherever he goes, prayerfully a light within God's church as he grows, and that he is my little light, reminding me of the blessing and opportunity God have given me to partake in creation by giving birth to life. It also has 2 other verses to make it fun during more active times ("Hide it under a bush - oh no!" "Won't let Satan blow it out" with the option of a light blowing* into the face instead of saying "blow").
Beautiful (learn the song and lyrics here; my awesomely talented brother plays an acoustic medley with other songs here)
This song was chosen mainly for the line, "Jesus makes beautiful things of my life", which He has in the little lives he has blessed me with. It reminds me in those wee dark hours that I have been charged to take care of this beautiful creation and not to harm it, as a fatigued and frustrated may stray to do.
I Cast All My Cares Upon You (learn the song and lyrics here - this is the series I sang with decades ago!)
I blend this song with "Beautiful" as they're both in 6/8 time. It also keeps me from getting to bored and falling asleep! This was especially helpful when Derek was crying and not falling asleep for who knows what reason - he's changed, fed and burped, so why won't he just sleep? I'm comforted to know that God is watching over me and watching over Derek, and that I can lean on Him when I'm feeling so tired. I can cast my worries about this crying child into His hands and know He'll be working with me to figure things out!
So if you're feeling at the end of your rope sometimes while caring for your little one, try picking up one of these songs, singing as you change a diaper or bathe a wriggling body or wait for a tantrum to let up, not necessarily to calm them down, although we hope it will, but to help calm you down and re-focus your purpose in parenting. Of course, no need to finish the song at their expense (I used to feel obligated to finish the song before I moved on to my next action, lol) but if you're feeling frayed, keep singing till you feel a bit calmer and more ready to handle the situation. We'll never have it all together but anything that helps us be a bit better helps, right? And the more you sing your repertoire, the more your child will become familiar with it which can help with bonding, his/her speech building, musicality, etc. It's tons of fun especially when toddler months hit and sing-alongs begin!
How about you? What tricks or methods do you employ to keep yourself sane? If you were to choose a song, which would it be and why?