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Help! My baby won't sleep! (Soothing Tactics)
I can help.
This is a problem that I have had much experience dealing with. My baby just turned one year old and I am still using the tactics I've learned during this past year. I actually just used one within this past hour!
This hub is going to go over non-"Cry it Out" methods, but I would like to state that "CIO" (Cry it Out) is something worth looking into. Some people are under the false impression that CIO means putting your baby in his or her crib and letting him or her cry without interruption for as long as it takes. This is not true. Some methods do allow babies to cry for up to an hour without soothing, but others allow for soothing after increasing amounts of time (after 3mins, 5mins, 7mins, etc). That's what I did and it was even suggested by our pediatrician. If you go in as soon as your baby makes a sound, that will become a learned behavior. I do understand how painful listening to your baby cry is and I am not going to cover this slightly controversial topic any more than I already have.
If you'd like to learn some simple and sometimes creative ways to get your baby to sleep that actually WORK, read on!
How to Soothe Baby to Sleep
I've spent MANY A NIGHT trying to get my poor little one to sleep. Sleep is extremely important for babies! (Could have fooled us right? I've often wondered, "you're SO tired; why don't you just. go. to. sleep??" But they're just babies learning how to be in the world and it's our job to help them learn how to sleep.)
Keep in mind that in the beginning of their outside lives, they're going to be finding sleep on you a lot. I've even heard the first 3 months referred to as the "fourth trimester". Your warmth, your voice, your heartbeat and your smell will remind baby of life in the womb.
Rock your Baby to Sleep. Cradle her close to your chest and sway from side to side.
White Noise. I cannot stress this enough! I wish I had a picture of the fan above our stove at our old apartment. My husband and I spent hours standing under that fan! I am not exaggerating. But it gets better! I promise!! There's something about that noise that really helps get babies to sleep.
There are even toys designed to make White Noise that you can put next to Baby's crib.
There's another toy that makes "womb sounds" - most notably, the rhythmic heartbeat.
I went with oven stove because it came with the apartment, haha, but I've heard great things about these other toys!
Sing Songs. You know those soft lullabies that were sung to you as children? Just do an internet search and get a quick refresher. I re-memorized "Hush Little Baby" and to this day sing it to my toddler every night. I have a terrible voice, but my daughter doesn't care; she loves my voice and my singing actually helps her sleep. (*Note: I do not sing her to sleep anymore; it is now just part of the bedtime routine. I put her in her crib away and she is able to get to sleep on her own!)
Breastfeed. I'm serious - this works so well that it almost works too well. I should write a whole different hub on how to keep Baby awake so she gets some food while breastfeeding! Sometimes I felt like a human pacifier, but sometimes that's just what my baby needed. If you can master lying down and breastfeeding, you could get a nap in! (*Note: I do not advocate bed-sharing through the night. Many people insist that it can be done safely, but I am not one of those people.)
Thumbs and Pacifiers. Speaking of pacifiers, they can work miracles. My baby preferred her thumb and the day she was able to find it on her own may just have been the best day of my life! Babies need to suck so give them (or in the thumbs case, help them get to) something to suck on - a pacifier, Daddy's pinkie, or their own little thumb! Combine this with white noise (and believe me, we DID!) and you could have a sleeping baby in minutes!!
Let Husband Try. A lot of times, husbands have bigger arms and can cradle Baby in a different way, which could make it easier to fall asleep.
Get a Swing. We had a swing that rocked back and forth and made music. A lot of times this magical contraption helped Baby sleep but sometimes even if it didn't do that, it at least helped her to stop crying long enough for me to eat an actual meal! (I remember that being very challenging in the beginning.) I've heard really great things about Rock 'n Plays, but haven't actually used one. Those swings that vibrate might also be worth trying!
I hope these tips come in handy for you and that you and your little one(s) can get some much needed rest! Good luck!! If you're a survivor of the zombie mom days like me, participate in the poll below! :o)