17 Ways to Help Your Newborn Calm Down & Sleep Longer
So, I just had our 8th baby.
Which means… I don’t know everything, but I know some stuff.
There was this time, 14 or so years ago, when my first baby was just two months old, that I went to a birthday/blessing party for a young lady in our church. Right when it was time for each of us to share something encouraging with my young friend, my normally-super-calm baby decided to start screaming.
I moved to a corner of the room. And then into another room entirely. He wouldn’t nurse; each time I tried, he utterly refused to latch on. Nothing calmed him. He seemed angry. I couldn’t figure it out.
I felt so embarrassed– like an incompetent mom, ruining the whole bash.
The dad (a father of 5) came into the room with something I’d never have expected. It’s the first thing I’ll share with you.
MY 4 BEST TRICKS FOR CALMING AN OVERSTIMULATED/SCREAMY BABY:
- Turn a blow dryer on high and set it on a surface within 3-5 feet of baby (or some other super-loud noise– like a vacuum– that will drown out baby’s crying).
- Go outside (or, if it’s bad weather, go near a window) and point out things you see.
- Make a constant noise near baby’s ear, for 10+ minutes– “shhh, shhhh, shhhhhhhhhhhh,” repeated over and over — while rhythmically & firmly patting baby’s bottom/back.
- Put baby on his tummy over your two knees and go back and forth, bouncing your knees– left, right, left right, left right– while singing quietly and/or patting and scratching their back.
13 WAYS TO HELP YOUR NEWBORN SLEEP LONGER
Each time we have a baby, helping our newborn sleep well, as soon as possible, is a big priority for us. Here are 13 ways we help that process along:
- Noise machine (a loud fan, pointed away from baby, can serve this same purpose)
- Full(er) nursing sessions… get that baby more of the rich hindmilk!
- Get them into a simple Eat-Wake-Sleep cycle. This helps wake times be happy/full-tummy times, and sleep times be when their tummy is getting emptier.
- Sleep positioner (note: I only use the two-sided portion of this product, not the incline.) Our newborns sleep better on their sides, and so I use this to position them safely, slightly on their side, until they are old enough to sleep how they please in a crib.
- Sleep wedge (if spit-up/acid reflux is a problem) or an inclined baby bed like this one.
- Bouncy seat (if you are nearby– do not use this without you being at baby’s side)
- Let baby sleep next to you on the couch, wedged between your leg & back of couch. When they start to rouse, you can gently, rhythmically wiggle your leg, or pat their tummy, and help gently soothe them back to sleep.
- Put baby to sleep in the noisy living room. Yes, I’m serious. Let the toddler run and play nearby, etc. If you have your baby do this early, it will teach them to be excellent sleepers who do not easily wake up to noise/disturbance. Ironically, doing this regularly with your newborn will produce a less-easily-wakable baby.)
- Use gas drops (for general fussiness, as well as gas/reflux problems)
- Less clothes/more clothes (baby could be hot, baby could be cold)
- Use a pacifier (but not if you’re having any milk supply issues or problems nursing!)
- Give a bath right before they go to sleep.
IN THE COMMENTS, please share:
- WHAT IS MISSING ON MY LIST?
- How do YOU get your newborn(s) to calm down and sleep longer?
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