By Jordan Glover, CD (DONA), PCD (DONA), LCCE
1. Swaddle your baby!
Swaddling your baby will not only help your baby fall asleep, it will help him stay asleep. Your baby was born with something called the Moro Reflex, which closely resembles the startling jump that we do as adults when we start to fall asleep and suddenly feel as if we are falling. All healthy babies are born with the reflex, but that doesn't mean it has to keep your baby up all night! Swaddling your newborn will keep this pesky reflex from waking your baby up when she would otherwise be sleeping.
Swaddling also reminds babies of the womb, where they were held so tightly by your uterus that they could hardly move in the last few weeks of pregnancy. For more information on swaddling, check out The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp.
There are special blankets made specifically for swaddling that are better for use when swaddling babies. Babies tend to wriggle out of regular blankets, which could end up near their faces. Also, you should only be swaddling baby's arms tightly, leaving the blanket loose around the hips. This is easier said than done, and special swaddling blankets make safe swaddling fool-proof. You can find swaddling blankets at most stores that sell baby items, but you may also be able to find them at your local consignment shop?
2. Wear your baby down.
Ergobaby carriers are the creme de la creme of baby carriers, and they are absolutely perfect for getting a baby down to sleep. I love the Ergo because with the infant insert you can start using it right away, and it can be used in toddler-hood as a backpack carrier.
- Start by swaddling your newborn, and putting her into the Ergo with the head flaps snapped.
- Wear her and go about your business until she is in a nice deep sleep.
- Unbuckle the back strap.
- Holding tight to your baby, unbuckle the waist strap.
- Stand over her crib, and lower yourself (and baby) onto the mattress.
- Take your arms out of the ergo and lay the arm straps by her side.
All the jostling, no matter how graceful you are, will probably bring baby out of her deep sleep, although hopefully she will not completely wake up. If having your baby sleep on top of the Ergo makes you nervous, just wait a few moments for her to fall back into a deep sleep and then gently pull the Ergo out from under her.
3. Use a noise machine.
After starting to use a noise machine, I wouldn't put a newborn to sleep without one. Again, let's go back to the womb. It was dark, and LOUD! Ever get an ultrasound? The sound you heard was a quiet representation of what it's like for your baby to be in your belly. Once they are born, everything changes. Not only are they no longer being held 24-hours-a-day and fed constantly, but we tiptoe around them thinking they need quiet to sleep. Boy are we wrong! Try to make your baby's sleeping environment womb like with a loud sound machine and you will most likely see that he sleeps better.
Jordan Glover is a Certified Birth & Postpartum Doula, and an Certified Lamaze Childbirth Educator. Jordan is the proud co-owner of Homegrown Babies, an Asheville Birth & Postpartum Doula Service. As a Birth Doula, Jordan helps her clients to achieve a normal birth through prenatal education, advocacy, and support. As aPostpartum Doula Jordan offers hands-on support by preparing meals, light housekeeping, breastfeeding assistance and evidence based infant care information. The Homegrown Babies Asheville based Lamaze Classes help prepare couples to birth with grace and ease.