Soothing methods used to calm a baby in an Arab country

Yousef Mohamed Abdulrazzaq, Asma Al Kendi, Nicolaas Nagelkerke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This study was undertaken to determine how mothers soothed their crying infants. A total of 1137 mothers of different cultural backgrounds were approached, 998 agreed to participate in the study, but only 716 completed the questionnaire through a telephone interview. Analysis was restricted to 702 mothers from the UAE nationality, other Arabs, other Muslims, Indians and Philippinos. The questionnaire contained 23 questions on different soothing methods. The most common soothing method was breast-feeding (99.1%), followed by holding and carrying the infant (96.9%), letting infant suck on his thumb or finger (87.3%), herbal tea (65%), night bottle (42.1%) and swaddling infant (19.5%). Over 90% of mothers of all nationalities, preferred not to use pacifiers. Soothing herbs were often used, with the commonest being anise (165 mothers used anise). Fennel tea was also used by a substantial number of mothers (75), with gripe water (64), cumin (33), chamomile (32), mint (22) and fenugreek (16) making up most of the rest. Conclusion: Mothers' ethnicity and nationality strongly impacted on the soothing methods used, with Arabs more often using herbal tea, prone positioning and swaddling to calm infants and illustrate the importance of culture in the upbringing of children from a very early age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-396
Number of pages5
JournalActa Paediatrica, International Journal of Paediatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Herbs
  • Infants
  • Soothing
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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