It started with Anna, our first born, who has now fully embraced her stubborn two-year-old attitude. Like many new parents, Katie and I had no idea what we were doing. We were thrilled that Katie was pregnant, but we were clueless on how to care for a new baby. So, we did what everybody else does. We bought the books and DVDs to prepare for our future as Masters of the Baby Universe.

One of the DVDs talked about the best way to soothe fussy babies. We casually watched, knowing we would never need these techniques since we would have a perfect, calm baby!

We were wrong.

Anna’s newborn cry quickly became my arch nemesis as it shook the rafters. It was maddening. Katie and I scrambled to find something–anything that could soothe our child.

In those first few weeks, if someone came along and said they would help if we paid them ten thousand dollars, I wouldn’t have hesitated. If the offer was made while Anna was crying at 4 am, I would have paid $50K. Who needs two cars anyway? Let’s refinance the house, babe.

Nothing seemed to work consistently–not swaddling, not swinging, not a pacifier, and not a washing machine. Not even a train ride from Austin to Boston.

Okay, we didn’t actually try that, but I would have if somebody said it would work.

Then we found it. The Holy Grail of Baby Soothing. It was life changing.

We discovered the ancient art of rhythmic shushing while watching a doctor’s DVD. We had heard of shushing before, but this was different.

It was loud, intrusive, and in long rhythms that worked like a snake charmer on an angry viper.

I saw Anna quiet immediately—she embraced the shush with her whole tiny being, while her eyes drifted off into dream world. Katie and I stared at each other in awe, as we celebrated a small taste of heaven. Our home was finally quiet.

But then we discovered a problem: Katie could not shush loud enough or long enough to have the same impact. She simply did not have the lung capacity to pull it off. So, I became the designated shusher for the family.

At first, that was fine with me. I enjoyed playing the role of hero. I was Indiana Jones and Anna’s cry was my Temple of Doom. But as the day approached when I would go back to work full time, I could see the panic bubble up in Katie’s eyes. What would she do without me at home all the time? How would she survive?

We’d have to give the baby back. At least that’s what I saw in Katie’s troubled face.

Inspiration hit me during a 2:30 AM “shush session.” I remembered that Katie had a small digital voice recorder in the drawer of her desk. I began to wonder…could it work? Was there something to the shush coming straight out of my mouth?

The next day, I isolated myself in my lab (my car parked in the quiet driveway), and I recorded myself rhythmically “shushing” into the device for ten minutes. I felt like a mad scientist as my neighbors stared as if I were some type of weirdo.

Soon after, we put my invention to the test. Anna let it fly—the type of baby scream that threatened to put a crack in my precious plasma TV. I placed the digital voice recorder near her ear and pressed play.

We held our breath and whispered a prayer.

Anna engaged with the shush as if it were me personally performing the dance with her. Her face went to a place of peace and she fell asleep within minutes. Katie and I looked at each other as if we’d just won the 100-million-dollar lottery.


We’d found the magic bullet. Forget cloning sheep. I had cloned a dad. Put me on the cover of Time Magazine.

From that day forward, the “Shusher”, as we began to call it, became the number one tool in our parental arsenal.

We never went anywhere without it. We freaked out if it slid behind the sofa cushions and we couldn’t find it. Because it was so small and portable, we used it in the stroller, we used it in the car seat, we used it in the grocery store, we used it in the swing, in the crib, in our arms. Grandparents used it. Babysitters used it. We used it a dozen times every day.

We wanted to spread this tool like wildfire. In 2013, we found out about pNeo, a business incubator in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. With their help, we developed the Baby Shusher you know and love. What began as a sound clip on a small digital recorder, advanced into the orange and white tower of calm you see today.

Partnering with them enabled me to take back my life and focus on my other dreams, like becoming a published author.

We are humbled and proud to be able to help parents, doctors, clinicians, photographers, and more around the world with Baby Shusher.

-Chad Zunker