5 Steps to get your upset crying baby to go to sleep….
Are you a new Mother? Are you having troubles getting your baby to go to sleep or settle? Then you are at the right place! Having two children of my own and working with newborns on a daily basis, I might have a few tricks up my sleeve to get a unsettled baby to sleep. Every baby of course is different and there is no one solution for all babies, but perhaps I can shed some light on some ways that have worked for me in the past.
First, is baby been fed? Did they have a good feed? I would say a minimum of about 10 minutes on each breast or a few ounces or more of formula in one feeding. If baby had been fed, did you burp them? If baby had gas you will notice them settle or squirm a bit and then let out a cry. You should be able to tell they are just not right and very squirmy. They might pull their legs up, it just depends. One burp might do the trick, but who knows they may have a few more in there, so be patient. I really like the position of holding baby in a sitting position on my lap with their head cradled in my left hand and patting their back with my right hand. I find that sitting a baby upright also naturally helps them to burp. If you find after trying for 3-5 minutes and you don’t get a burp, gently rock them on to their back and bring them back up once or twice in case the air is stuck and needs help getting out.
After you have fed and burped baby, check to make sure their diaper is not soiled, and change if necessary. Babies don’t like to be cold…so cold air, and cold wipes will make your baby cry. I keep my studio at 26 degrees Celsius, so when you come to the studio, lots of parents cringe when I have to change the baby…”oh no they don’t like that….my baby always cries.” My babies in the studio rarely cry…why is that? because it is warm and cozy! If you get stressed during a diaper change because your baby cries, turning up the thermostat and warming the wipes in your hands, or putting them under warm water, will definitely help. I don’t recommend a home at 26 degrees…let’s be honest this is too hot to live in, but 23 or 24 degrees is doable.
So now that we have a baby fed, and diaper changed, what’s next? I would wrap your baby in a stretchy piece of jersey cotton fabric, so that you can get it a bit tighter than traditional fabric. You want to get one hand down by their side, and bring the fabric over the one arm and body and tuck it under baby. You will do the same with the other arm along their side and wrap the long piece of fabric back over this arm over the other side you just wrapped. You can then tuck babies legs into the opening to cover them up and then take the fabric from under the back towards the feet to wrap them up completely. (I might have to do a video of this so it all makes sense!) Baby may fight you or get a bit upset when you wrap them, but most babies will settle after you are done and you hold them close to you and gently rock them in your arms.
Now it’s time to cuddle your baby in your arms. You want to do this with strength, hold them tight to your body so that baby feels like they are apart of you. This goes for when you don’t have baby wrapped too! If you hold a baby so their arms and feet can dangle…that will wake them or keep them awake…it is like the feeling of falling to them…they are not comfortable and they feel like they are going to fall. Always tuck their arms and legs in your arms so they can’t move them around. Now it’s time to be the white noise…. Walk around and say “shhh” shhh” shhhh” in sets of 3 beats (this is mimicking a version of white noise…trust me it works!) You can also pat their bum through the wrap…in the beat of your heart, ba bum, ba bum and so on.
Then baby goes to sleep….YOU got to sleep! (if you don’t have other kids of course!) Sleep is the most important thing you can get for yourself. When you get sleep deprived …everything will go wrong and you will not have enough mental strength to get through regular crying sessions, and stress levels will rise. I can’t stress enough how important getting rest is when you have a newborn baby!