Try the following strategies to help calm your baby:
- Recreating the womb experience can be very helpful in keeping your baby settled and calm and may assist in extending short sleep episodes. Try swaddling to help your baby feel snug and secure. Add some white noise during sleep times and keep the room dark when sleeping at night. Keep stimulation to a minimum and make sure to only use dim lights when tending to baby at night.
- During the day experiment with providing a cool, quiet, darkened space for your baby to sleep in to see if that helps them have a better, more restorative stretch. Some babies do better sleeping in the same room as mom so if your baby does better in the area where you are – try providing them with a nice, comfortable sleep space in the living area (bassinet, bouncy seat, swing or pack-n-play) that is in a quiet corner.
- Use a variety of ways to get your baby to sleep so she learns that there is more than one way to fall asleep. This will help things as she gets older so that she doesn’t always rely on one specific sleep method (such as rocking, bouncing, or holding to sleep). Most babies will get sleepy after a feed or fall asleep towards the end of the feed. This is normal and natural and will not create a sleep problem.
- Allow the baby the opportunity to calm himself by sucking on a pacifier or his own hands. Once calm & drowsy – remove the pacifier so he can fall asleep without having to suck. If your baby enjoys sucking on his hands, then swaddle with arms midline and hands peeking through so he can suck or try a swaddle that will allow him to keep his hands up by his face such as a woombie.
- Settle baby by patting, stroking, humming, singing or if baby is unsettled. If quiet, happy & content – try leaving the room & give your baby a chance to fall asleep without you having to be there. If your baby starts to cry or gets upset – pick them up and try calming or settling and then putting them back down when they are drowsy so they can do that last bit of falling asleep on their own. If at any time your baby becomes distressed or is having a difficult time falling asleep – pick them up and do whatever it takes to get them to sleep.
- Rocking, Feeding, Holding or using swings, motion to get your baby to sleep is ok at this stage and will not create any bad habits. Helping your baby sleep when they need to (however you can at this stage) is more important than trying to teach your baby to sleep independently.
Falling asleep independently is a learned skill and will take time and your help for your baby to perfect this skill. At this stage these are only “practice” sessions.