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Natural Ways To Help Your Baby Sleep

Updated on March 5, 2012
Photo courtesy:  About.com
Photo courtesy: About.com

Many parents, myself included, have lost more than one nights sleep due to a cranky baby. In fact, it is only the luckiest of parents who have babies that do not fuss quite a few nights away before they get older. For approximately 30% - 40% are blessed with babies that are not only high energy babies; but, they have colic as well making them very high maintenance especially at night.

Colicy babies have a great deal of difficulty passing gas. For some reason, their tiny, little bodies hang on to it like grim death. This gives them intense stomach pain; and, being unable to express themselves in any other way, they cry and cry and cry...

The baby usually becomes fussier toward the late afternoon or evening for several reasons.  Colic is helped by the warmth and closenss of the skin to skin contact they receive during the day and the motion of being carried and/or rocked.  At bedtime, they are left alone to sleep and the colic gets worse and worse.

Young children should never be given any kind of medication or over-the-counter remedy without a doctor's approval.  There are many things that can be done naturally to help the baby feel better without resorting to medicinal intervention which many times only masks the symptoms and does not alleviate the problem.

So...what can a weary parent do?

Photo courtey:  Safekids.co.uk
Photo courtey: Safekids.co.uk

Natural Ways to Help You and Your Baby Get More Sleep

1. Put your child in a carry cot beside the bed at night. A carry cot is like a crib without legs that can lie on the floor right next to the bed on the floor. Have everything ready before hand and when the baby requires feeding or just consoling, just reach down, bring the child into bed and feed. After feeding, place the baby on your tummy (the skin contact; and, the warmth from your body will help relax the baby making the passage of gas easier) and burp. Roll over and return the baby to the cot. Not having to get out of bed at night makes the experience calmer and gentler for both of you.

2. Forget about keeping up with the housework. Do NOT use any precious time your baby is asleep doing housework!!! They'll wake up refreshed and you will still be exhausted. Your new cardinal rule: If the baby sleeps - so do I! If he falls asleep at 4:00 pm - hit the couch for a few quick winks. The housework will still be there when you get up - I promise.

3. Catnip tea is a mother's friend. While catnip excites a cat, it has the opposite effect on a human. Catnip tea not only calms a child; but, it can help with tummy troubles. Some children have a hard time expelling gas and it gives them an upset stomach. Catnip tea calms the child and makes it easier for him/her to pass the gas. If you are breastfeeding, don't worry about giving the tea in a bottle (1/2 bottle of tea, 1/2 bottle of milk), they will soon drink from either a bottle or a breast. Chamomille and fennel tea work equally well.

4. Prepare simple, easy-to-prepare dinners or order in. The family will survive eating very simple, one pot meals; TV dinners; open a can and heat meals; or something ordered in. The time saved can be spent with the baby or sleeping.

5. Try a nice, warm bath for your baby before bedtime. Warm baths are very soothing and can help prepare her for sleep. Try a drop of lavender oil in the water - very relaxing.

6. Occasionally, prevail on a friend to take the baby for a couple of hours so you can sleep. Have the friend take the baby to their house because chances are if you hear the baby cry you'll wake up. Very refreshing for an exhausted mom!!

7. Set up a bedtime routine for your baby. Children respond positively to routines and they can help prepare your child for what is to come next. In the case of bedtime, a ritual will help your baby sleep because it provides continuity making the child feel safe and loved.

8. Motion soothes a colicky baby. Use a sling or cuddli-type carrier to carry baby close to your body during the day.

9. If your baby is small enough, use the "colic carry". Place the baby face down along your arm, with the chin in the palm of your hand and the legs straddling your inner elbow. Carry your baby around the house like this. The warmth, skin-to-skin contact, motion and slight pressure on the tummy all work to help the child expel any intestinal gas.

10. If the child is too big for the colic carry, try laying the baby across your lap and patting his back.

11. Make sure the baby is hydrated. Babies need plain water just like adults do. Milk and diluted juice are essential for the babies health and continued growth; but, plain water is just as essential.

12. Gentle massage may help to relax the child enough to pass any unexpelled gas.

13. If you are breastfeeding, check out your diet with a doctor. You could be eating something that the baby objects to.

14. If you are using any kind of "grippe water", read the label and use only those that contain organic ingredients.

Photo courtesy:  canadianparents.com.     Don't be fooled - this beautiful face is not sleeping, he is recharging!
Photo courtesy: canadianparents.com. Don't be fooled - this beautiful face is not sleeping, he is recharging!

Comments

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    • pippap profile imageAUTHOR

      pippap 

      2 years ago from Surrey, BC

      Sorry I took so long to reply. Glad the article helped. Thanks for the youtube link.

    • profile image

      Alison 

      3 years ago

      I had the same problem.. my baby just didn´t all asleep. I started to play lullabies, and that really seemed to work. I think the soothing sound of a simple melody makes babies feel peaceful and relaxed.

      I also found some lullaby music on youtube, for example here:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt0inOTbwzY&li...

      It also worked, when I started playing my baby these things. I just simply got tired of singing for 4 hours every evening :)

      Thank you so much for all this information, it´s really helpful

    • pippap profile imageAUTHOR

      pippap 

      3 years ago from Surrey, BC

      A lullaby certainly is natural. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      JoannaFlenn 

      3 years ago

      Isnt a lullaby natural too? I like playing a soothing lullaby like this one to get my little child asleep https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bYzeIsDlfg . It works really well, but it does not help with the "gas problem" like we call it.

    • arrowgreen profile image

      arrowgreen 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      informative! thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      kims3003 

      7 years ago

      very well done hub with great tips.

    • cbris52 profile image

      cbris52 

      8 years ago

      It's always difficult getting my little one to sleep. Thanks for the advice!

    • w_elizabeth profile image

      w_elizabeth 

      8 years ago

      These tips would surely help all parents with problems putting their babies to sleep. It's an added learning for me as well. Thanks pippap..

    • profile image

      Parent Online 

      8 years ago

      Hi, this article was very useful. My baby also had colic but he is now three years old and doing great. It always used to be absolutely difficult to get him to go to sleep when he was a baby!

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 

      8 years ago from NJ, USA

      Well I will pass these tips onto my daughter who is having her first baby in May - she's living at home so I've already invested in some earplugs!!! Thanks for the advice!

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 

      8 years ago from NJ, USA

      Well I will pass these tips onto my daughter who is having her first baby in May - she's living at home so I've already invested in some earplugs!!! Thanks for the advice!

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