It’s completely normal for tiny babies to need comforting when it comes to sleep time. In fact, comforting and kindness at sleep time may be needed for a while as your baby learns to tolerate overwhelming experiences or being apart from you.
How to settle baby
Here are some tips to help your baby learn to drift off to sleep:
Keep in mind, your baby is not intentionally crying or resisting sleep.
Distressed babies and toddlers can’t calm themselves, they need your guidance.
Prepare for sleep
- encourage quiet time before sleep to help wind down their brain for sleep
- reduce external stimulation as sleep time approaches
- cuddle your baby until they are calm
- use a wrap to help keep their arms snuggled in
- if you feed your baby expressed breast milk before a night sleep, be sure to offer milk you expressed at an evening time (the components in breast milk change in the evening and they promote sleep)
- offer soothing actions that then can become associated with sleep times, such as:
- slow, rhythmic rocking while cuddling
- quiet humming
- patting softly and rhythmically on your baby’s nappy
- quietly shh-ing
- allow some sucking time.
Avoid rushing, vigorous bouncing or loud noises.
Slings are wonderful inventions, they have been around for years for a good reason - skin to skin contact and movement are calming.
Back up plan
If your baby can’t settle, try:
- a little walk in the pram
- a change of cuddle position
- a feed.
Author: Helen Stevens. RN. RM. MCHN. Manager of Clinical Services, Education and Research. Parent Infant Consultants. 0411880720.