This post on helping a baby fall asleep is the fourth article in my blog series on basic baby care. To read the introduction to the series, click here. The first tip was on how to change a diaper. The second post was on how to hold a baby. And my third little raindrop of knowledge was on how to clip a baby’s nails.
Dear God make this baby fall asleep!
This is a prayer that even the strictest atheist will pray. Some of the most frustrating moments of my life have come when trying to help the baby fall asleep. Many books have been written about how to do this. None of which I have read but I’m sure they’re all good. This is what works for me.
- Get a routine. Every night at roughly the same time, my wife and I go through a ritual before setting the baby down hoping he’ll sleep through the night. First we feed him, and then go through the stages of putting on a new diaper, fresh change of clothes, praying, and singing. As he gets older we’ll incorporate reading to him at this time.
- Swaddling the baby is a HUGE help in keeping the baby down for several hours. To swaddle, set the blanket down in the shape of a diamond. For this purpose, think of a baseball diamond. Slightly fold the second base towards the pitcher’s mound and place the child on top of the blanket. The child’s head should rest where the bottom of center field would be located. Grab the third base corner and fold it over to the first base corner across the baby’s arms. Bring the corner from home plate up until the blanket is snug around the feet towards the pitcher’s mound. Lastly, bring the first base corner across the baby’s body and gently tuck it underneath. Now the baby is nice and warm and feeling secure. Go METS!
- Some babies need some white noise. We have found that those baby aquariums work wonders.
- How often do you set a sleeping baby in the crib only to have it wake up and scream? My trick is to gently place the swaddled baby into the crib with one hand on their back and the other on the chest. Keep some pressure on the hand that is on the chest and slowly slide the hand that is on the back out from under the baby. Leave your other hand on the chest for a few moments. When you’re ready, slowly release that hand. This will take some practice to perfect.