Yes, we all love our little bouncy bundles of joy. We adore their coos and flails as newborns. As they grow, we love their boundless energy, their unquenchable curiosity and astonishing reserves of stamina. But let’s be honest. Whether we’re brand new parents or several months into that role, we have to acknowledge that it feels pretty good when those wee dynamos finally close their eyes and slip into peaceful slumber.
Finding the right settling technique
A little perseverance in establishing a calming nap time or bedtime routine goes a long way in settling a baby for sleep. It helps the baby unwind, eliminates over-stimulation and creates an atmosphere conducive to slumber. Not all babies are the same, so there’s a little bit of trial and error involved. But if you press on, you’re sure to find something that works for your baby. Here are some popular methods parents around the world have tried successfully:
1. Soothing music
Soft, soothing music can work wonders. Pick a quiet room, pull the shades down if its daytime or dim the lights if it’s dark outside. Turn on a lullaby and lay the baby down in the crib. You will know soon enough if the music is working its magic. Lullabies are called that for a reason.
2. Baby swing
Rhythmical movement is known to have a settling effect on infants and toddlers. A baby swing is a great tool to achieve that, especially for nap times. The to-and-fro motion comforts most babies and lulls them to sleep. When you need to recharge with a nap yourself or have to catch up chores, press the baby swing into service. Just make sure you strap her in safely. The swing is ideal for naps. It is a godsend for millions of parents as they can get a lot done while the swing keeps the baby napping peacefully close by. There are many baby swings to choose from, but I found this review to be very helpful – http://www.coolkiddystuff.com/best-baby-swing-for-2016/.
Some infants find it hard to sleep unless they are snugly swaddled, mimicking the coziness of the womb. Swaddling keeps the baby from flailing, easing over-stimulation and calming him enough to fall asleep. Just make sure to pick a swaddling cloth that doesn’t make the baby feel too warm and uncomfortable.
4. Walking the baby
Cradling the baby in your arms and walking her to sleep works well too. You could also use a sling or snugly settle the baby in a stroller if you want to use this settling strategy. But the walking method should be used sparingly because babies form habits very quickly and this routine can be hard for parents to keep up.
5. A comforting cuddle
Infants respond well to this method of settling. When you want to put your newborn down for a nap after a feed, cuddle him close, preferably letting him feel contact with your bare skin. Feeling your warmth, hearing your heartbeat and being snugly cradled makes baby feel as secure as he did in the womb and helps calm him enough to fall asleep.
This is a settling habit a parent should try to introduce as early as possible. A baby who is a couple of months old will obviously not understand the words being read, but it’s the soft cadence of your speech and the comforting sound of your voice that soothes her. As she grows, the words will become familiar and comprehensible, their predictable arrangement comforting and anticipated. It’s a wonderful settling and bonding routine for any baby and parent.
7. A warm bath
Water’s soothing powers are well known and they work just as well on babies as they do on grown ups. Giving the baby a short, warm bath before bed helps relax tense muscles and calm over-stimulated senses, making it easier for him to wind down and fall asleep.
8. A massage
Who among us doesn’t love a good massage? Just as we feel our stresses float away and our muscles relax when getting a gentle kneading, so does a baby. A tender massage of those little arms and legs can help your infant or toddler soothe quickly and settle down for sleep.
These are all tried and tested methods of settling babies for sleep and if you are looking for more, Tesillian have a very informative tip sheet here. It’s just a matter of identifying the one that’s ideal for you and your baby. Once you’ve found what works, nap and bedtimes will become much easier. Mastering a sleep routine is one of the biggest challenges for new parents. Conquering that can take a lot of stress out of those precious early stages of a parental journey.