Being a new parent most of your life revolves around your baby sleeping. You hear advice throughout pregnancy and the new baby stage that, where people say “sleep when the baby sleeps”, “nap when the baby naps”. However, getting your bundle of joy to sleep can sometimes be quite a challenge.
Unfortunately, unlike us, babies don’t have any concept of time therefore they are most likely to be awake when you plan to be sleeping. There are so many books, videos and apps out there to help you track your babies sleeping and some provide advice. Some of these suggestions include very detailed strict sleep routines and others suggest following the baby.
Regardless of which plan YOU choose to follow, there are some tried and tested products that will help to get your baby to sleep.
White noise is a sound not dissimilar to what happens when your TV loses signal or when your radio goes down. You might remember it when you get that black and white grey fuzzy screen and the noise that it makes is white noise. Now when babies are inside the uterus, all they hear is white noise from your heartbeat and other organs. So, if your baby just won’t settle, try using white noise consistently to help them calm down, feel relaxed and probably asleep.
White noise has to be used from when the baby is born and can’t be picked up in the future. This is due to the baby’s memory, allowing the baby to have a consistent source of comfort from a noise, conditions the baby to feel sleepy when they hear it. Having that continued use of white noise allows the baby to feel close to the mother and allow them to sleep soundly. There are multiple products for babies that play white noise on timers to aid with bedtime routines.
Skin To Skin Contact
Usually, when a baby is born they are immediately given skin-to-skin contact with the parents. This unique bonding tool allows the baby to recognise the smell of the parents and be regulated by their body temperature and breathing patterns.
This is seen often through kangaroo care in NICU units. Most babies are often very comforted by skin to skin contact even if it’s not something you both practice often. Therefore, if your baby isn’t sleeping well and is getting distressed because they’re overtired, simply having skin to skin contact will help your baby.
If you place a baby on your chest they will hear your heartbeat and associate that with being in the uterus where they felt safe. The warmth and comfort they receive from your skin contact may be enough for them to relax and head to sleep.
Babywearing has long been a tradition in many different cultures, however, it seems to be having a revamp within western cultures.
Babywearing is simply using a sling or a baby carrier that is attached to you that allows the baby to be close to you. This is similar to babies having skin to skin contact except for both baby and parent are usually you’re both dressed.
Many babies find babywearing more comfortable than going in a pram, which means they are more settled and therefore more likely to sleep. Some people find wearing their baby around the house settles baby if they need to do jobs or chores and the baby won’t settle. By simply putting them in a sling or carrier will allow the baby to settle and the parents can complete the jobs they need to do.
You must choose the right carrier as the baby grows the carrier will need to be changed depending on the weight and size of your child. There are sling libraries available where you can try and borrow different slings and carriers to allow you to try carriers before you buy them.
As you will be wearing your baby, you need to make sure it’s comfortable for you to wear. You also need to make sure the baby is safe by having the correct head, neck and back support. These vulnerable areas of the baby’s body need to be supported correctly because poor posture can lead to problems.
There are lots of different designs and colours to fit your style and need. Some carriers are structured whereas some are soft and malleable. All carriers should follow safety guidelines and you need to follow these to make sure your baby is safe.
What is a baby bouncer and how will this help my baby sleep? Well, there are lots of different types of baby bouncers with different features; from horizontal to angled and manual to electric. Depending on what your baby likes, depends on which model you want to go for.
Babies are used to being bounced in the womb, so it can be comforting to them to be bounced to sleep. Some parents find bouncing their baby the easy part, but putting the baby down may cause it to wake up. This is why using a bouncer can be very helpful to aid your baby to sleep without the need to be put down.
The price point is an important factor in choosing the right baby bouncer for you as they range from under $10 to upward of $500, each coming with different add-ons and parts to engage the baby. With the advance in technologies come the motorised baby bouncers that bounce in different patterns, speeds and even play music and white noise.
Some parents swear by bouncers especially during the day as their babies struggle to go down for naps. Some also find bouncers as an effective way to relieve babies who have Colic or bad gas. Ensuring your baby is safe and comfortable is the most important part to remember when using bouncers. Too much vigorous bouncing is very bad for the baby, but light bouncing is ok. Remember to use the safety straps and read the instructions and safety recommendations online before using bouncers.