Friday, July 08, 2005

Hush, Little Baby.

New moms and dads know that sleeping like a baby often means waking at the slightest noise and napping during the day, not at night. There are some ways you can get your little one to fall asleep, though. When you are up and bleary-eyed, try these methods out with your little miracle.

White noise works great. White noise is a rhythmic sound without voices that will lull baby. The stuffed animals that play womb-like sounds are examples of this type of noise. You can also try CDs or musicals that play ocean waves or other soothing sounds. Some desperate parents even run the vacuum so their little one will sleep. An alternative to running the vacuum is to record a tape of it to play for baby. Radio static, if Mom and Dad can stand it, will help baby sleep. A lullaby CD or other musical also may help your baby to go night-night.

If you want to hold your little one, try out different positions. Different babies like to be held in different ways, so while your first child may have hated to be held over your shoulder, it may comfort this baby. Experiment with various ways to rock and cuddle with your little one, even if it seems silly. If Mom has large breasts, for example, baby may get accustomed to them being there and need a pillow if Daddy has nighttime duty.

Many childcare experts warn against rocking and other soothing motions unless baby can wake doing those motions as well. The theory is that your little guy or gal will get used to being rocked to sleep and then will not be able to drift away without it. Sleep-deprived parents are likely to eschew this advice, though, in favor of some shut-eye. Feel free to rock your baby if that works for the two of you. While you may not want it to become a habit, it can help on those long nights, especially in the first few weeks.

Co-sleeping may be an option for you, too. This controversial arrangement is something that all parties involved should get to voice their opinions on. Even baby can let you know if this plan will work. Many babies get comfort from body heat and rhythms, meaning that they will seem much more comfortable when they lie down with Mom and Dad. While you should be careful if you decide to co-sleep, it could just be the best option for you.

As a last resort, you can try a ride in the car. This habit is one that you definitely do not want to get into. It costs money to ride around, and it is not good for the environment. Still, there may be nights when a couple of rides around the block will help the little one to sleep.

If all of these methods fail, just keep reminding yourself that this, too, will pass. Baby will be a grown-up one day, and you will yearn for the infant days. Then, these sleepless nights will seem well worth it.

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