We all know that children do not come with an instruction manual. For the most part after having your first child you have to figure it all out on your own. Some of the most frustrating time spent with your child is when the just will not sleep. In an attempt to ease your stress here are my to ten ways to help your baby sleep.
Start Simple: The first step in helping a baby sleep is probably the most obvious. Make sure they are fed, have clean diaper, and are warm. It sounds silly to tell people this, but often new parents over look the easy answer in their frustration.
Just Hold Me: One thing I found with my oldest was I had to hold him. Even while in the hospital he refused to sleep for his mother. I literally spent hours just pacing the hospital room and our home holding his swaddled little body against my chest. Once he fell asleep I could put him just about anywhere, but getting there was the issue.
That Sweet Calming Smell: This one works for older children as well. Use a calming lavender scented soap in their baths, and or a lotion. The calming scent works great! Be sure to smell the product before you buy it; you want a soft scent, not an overpowering one.
Oh My Beating Heart: Whether you are laying down with your child or pacing the room it is a good idea to hold them to your chest. This was a tip we received from a nurse with our first child. They just spent nine months in the womb. The sound of the heart beat calms and soothes them; remember they are new to this world and these simple sounds are those of safety.
A Calming Shh: This one will be difficult to explain, yet it is useful and another nurse tip. Making a soft sh-sh-sh sound in a rhythmic manner works wonders. Do not do it loud or harshly you are not trying to hush the baby. What you are trying to do is replicate the sound of blood flow from the pumping heart. This is another calming technique that is derived from the safety of the womb.
Sounds Like Home: A big tip that is often not mentioned is ambient noise. As a mother you know exactly when the baby was sleeping in the womb. Whatever you happened to be doing at that time are the sounds your baby is used to falling asleep to. It is a myth that you need absolute silence to put a baby to bed. If you and your significant other usually watched TV while the baby fell asleep pre-birth, there is a good chance he or she will need background noise to fall asleep.
Like A Good Science Experiment: Do not be afraid to experiment with new techniques. My older brother would not fall asleep without being driven around the block a few times. This lasted until he was two. Many infants enjoy a slow moving swing or more creative things; remember every child is different.
Just Take A Breath: A crying baby can be very frustrating, especially if it seems it will never stop. One very important tip is to take a deep breath and calm yourself. If you are frustrated or upset it instill fear into the baby. Make sure you are calm and comfortable, well as comfortable as you can be.
AHH Mood Lighting: Soft lighting goes along way with children. Complete darkness often does not work too well with small children. A soft ambient glow (the same as a romantic dinner) has a calming effect.
Sing Sweet To Me: A long lost tradition is singing songs to your children. Sure most adults have long since forgotten these songs. That is okay though; really any song will do as long as you sing in a low soothing whisper like tone. There are recordings that can be bought for this purpose, but the parent actually singing the song provides not only memories for you both, it also builds a stronger bond between you two.