Natural ways to get baby to sleep
Posted January 15, 2008on:
Here are a couple of ways to help get baby off to sleep gently. Not all babies sleep throught the night at first as they may need feeding often especially if they are breast fed or premature. A new born’s tummy is the size of a walnut so needs refilling regularly. Your baby will get into a natural sleep pattern eventually.
All of these techniques are taken from instinctive settling methods passed from generation to generation. Many are used routinely in different cultures. Babies responds best to womb like conditions so try to think about how you can recreate this secure environment. Things to consider are;
Keeping noise low/muffled-Baby will respond well to the sound of your heartbeat.
Keeping baby feeling secure by swaddling/wrapping or keeping baby close to your body.
Keeping lights low
Keeping baby warm
Mimicking gentle swaying movements and motions similar to those experienced in the womb.
The following techniques can be done before massage to help to relax your baby or whenever baby is feeling tense. It is not necessary to remove your baby’s clothes before practicing the techniques.
Using a sling
Slings are used in many cultures to help settle and soothe baby whilst allowing the parent to continue to fulfill many other tasks. Using a sling to settle your baby can be very effectively. Slings offer a way to provide skin to skin contact and comfort but allow you to have your hands free to do whatever you need to do. They are used in many cultures for this reason. They also allow baby to experience the comforting sensation of movement, the sound of the heartbeat, and the scent of their parent. There are many different styles on the market. One of the best is the Kari Me sling which is available through our website www.blossomandberry.com/shop
Tiger in Tree
Make a cradle with your arms and lay your baby on its front in your arms so that its tummy is directly over your hands. Let your baby’s legs and arms dangle either side of your arms cradling him. If this becomes tiring then you can lay your baby in this position whilst sitting down. The feel of your hands will bring warmth to your baby’s tummy and your touch will comfort baby. This position will provide your baby with a new view of his environment and the slight pressure will again help with trapped wind.
Use the Tiger in the Tree position Make sure his head is well supported in the nook of your elbow. Gently sway your baby from side to side.
Important-Make sure you have a good hold of your baby before you begin to sway.
This is a technique used in Indian by mothers to soothe their babies. It applies a slight pressure to the stomach helping to ease any trapped wind. The rhythmical movements are also very soothing for baby and the patting replicates the sound of a mother’s heartbeat.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you or sit on a chair or sofa. Place your baby across your lap so that they he is face down. Make sure your baby’s head and neck is well supported by your legs.
Gently move your knees up and down in a rhythmical motion so that your baby is gently bobbing up and down on your lap.
Whilst you are moving your knees, gently pat baby on the back with flat palms in rhythm with your knee movements.
Swaddling can often help to calm babies as it has the effect of recreating the security and closeness of the tight space of the womb. Ask your health visitor or mid wife to show you how to swaddle your baby.
Warm water has been shown to help the body produce the hormone oxytocin which has a relaxing effect on the body. Try taking a warm bath together prior to the usual episode of fussing to help release built up tension and wind.
Place baby high up on your shoulder with baby’s tummy resting on your shoulder. Make sure you have a good hold of baby either under the arms or around the waist. Babies will enjoy a different view and the gentle pressure on the tummy can help to soothe any windy pains.
Dancing with baby
Babies love movement and respond well to rhythm and different sounds. Dancing with your baby provides an excellent distraction for baby and is a fun activity for both of you helping to release endorphins or “happy hormones”
Going for a walk
Movement and fresh air are both good settlers for baby. Using a sling or a buggy provides gentle movement which baby will recognise with the sensations experienced in the secure environment of the womb.
If you are using massage to settle your baby try a session in late morning perhaps before a nap, and in the late afternoon before your baby is prone to becoming over-stimulated. Try to prevent over-stimulation in the afternoon by avoiding loud noises and bright lights. Gentle singing with the massage can also help to calm baby. If a baby becomes over-stimulated try not to do too much with the baby at one time.