Weird ways to get your baby to sleep
Over the last 14 months of my daughter's life we have tried a plethora of ways to get her to sleep. I am sure you will have come across numerous techniques, tips and tricks online and in the bookstores but each child is so different as is each parent that not every technique will work, or you'll be happy implementing.
So I thought rather than sharing more of the usual ways to get your baby to sleep, I'd share a few of the weird and wonderful ways we've found have worked for you to see if they'll work for you too.
1. Squats and lunges
When she was little (<6 months), she was one of those babies that needed to be rocked to sleep and the more rocking the better. So when I started to try to build in a little exercise into the bedtime routine I found that the deep up and down movements from a squat and a lunge worked a treat. Although it worked so well the number of squats and lunges I managed to get in got less and less. I think my record from crying to fast sleep was a mere four squats - not quite enough to get the butt of my dreams but definitely a great way to get a good straight-back technique!
2. Sign language singing
I was recommended Ettie Betty Baby Signs by a friend who was following her on Facebook. It was the beginning of the pandemic lockdown and so Charlie who runs it was hosting live baby sign language classes everyday. I loved learning a new way to communicate with my baby and one of the first substantial things I learnt was the song 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'. My baby would watch in amazement at night, slowly growing sleepier and sleepier and gradually drifting off - it was incredible! She is also on YouTube here.
I strongly recommend learning a few common signs that you typcially say to your baby and think it would be useful for them to learn. I decided to go with "More" - so she can ask for more if she is still hungry; "Home" so if she gets tired or distressed when out and about I know when she is ready to head home, equally I am preparing for the fact that I will be able to do the sign across the playground and she'll know exactly what I am staying. We've also been doing"Thank you/Please" (the same sign) along with "change" - as in nappy change, of which there are many!!
3. Boyz II Men
I kid you not. It's almost Christmas, so I had been attempting to sing a few festive lullabies, with Silent Night being one of them. To try to give her a slightly more melodic tune to drift off to I searched on Spotify to see who had done a cover of the song and to my joy found Boyz II Men had, so on they went and off she went like an absolute dream! They have such calm, beautiful voices who couldn't relax and melt to sleep with them serenading you in the background.
4. Talking to her about what's happening
So you may think I am insane now, TELLING her that she needs to go to sleep? Get real. Well, I read a great book called, "The book you wish your parents had read" by Phillippa Perry. There are many tips and methods in there that I am definitely working on and one of them is effective communication. Just because they are children, doesn't mean they don't understand what is going on. Plonking a child down without warning on a cold bed after being cosy and warm and loved in your arms is bound to be distressing, so I figured talking her through it, giving her cuddles and making our way to the side of the bed and then talking to her about going to sleep on her bed may be worth a try. Believe me, it doesn't always go that smoothly, but she definitely understands what I am staying and usually crawls into her bed and attempts to lay now and go to sleep (even if it doesn't last long and she's desperate to get in my arms again). Regardless, I recommend giving the book a try, even if my interpretation isn't doing it justice!
5. Going to noisy restuarant
Many people believe their baby needs to be in silence in order to go to sleep and stay asleep. For us it has been quite the contrary. As a small baby, she was in her sleepy element what strapped to us in her sling or pram whilst out at a restaurant or bar with our friends (oh yeah, there was life before lockdown). Background noise is the best. That's why many baby monitors come with pre-installed "white noise". You can get some great ones on your phone too with "cafe noise" which is just as effective as the real deal.
6. Beard stroking
Okay, so granted this one is a little niche and one I have to say I cannot deliver myself. However, it is a weird trick my partner uses when my daughter just won't settle. She loves his bristly bearded stubble and they both lay on her bed (him on the edge - we have a floor bed for her, Montessori-style) and she just strokes his face until she falls asleep.Yes, weird I know. It makes me want to grow a beard.
That's the end of my weird and wonderful ways to get your baby to go to sleep. I would love to hear your ingenious methods to tackle the sleep demons and night goblins!
Over and out