Sometimes, trying to get your baby to go to sleep and stay asleep can be nerve-wracking. If your infant loves to express him/herself vocally, you may have a real challenge before you to keep the peace in your apartment building.
Everyone understands that babies cry. Everyone also understands that there are occasional days when your little bundle of joy is having a rough day and can’t get to sleep and cries inconsolably.
But, when your child’s wailing goes on and on, day after day, and begins to become a topic of discussion amongst your neighbors, you know you have a problem. What to do? You know that you have to do something. You know that you don’t want to be generally hated as that parent who can’t control their baby’s cries.
I get it. My first baby, a beautiful little girl, seldom cried and when she did it was more of a whimper. I thought: I got this! Being a parent is super easy! What’s the big deal? When I looked through the lens of my extremely limited experience with a nearly perfect baby, I thought it’s easy to get your baby to stop crying! Why do other parents have so many problems? In retrospect, my thinking was exceptionally naive. I knew absolutely nothing about caring for a baby…I had just hit the jackpot on the first kid, but didn’t have the wisdom to recognize it.
A year later, I gave birth to my second child, a boy. He had a healthy set of lungs on him and he wasn’t bashful about expressing his needs or displeasure with anything at any time of the day or night! He was a screaming, cry-all-day kind of baby. This pathetic baby had colic and angrily cried nearly non-stop until he was six weeks old. I should really say he howled and screamed for six weeks, as crying sounds so much more subdued than what it really was. It was torture listening to the non-stop bellering of my child.
It got to a point where I was embarrassed to step outside of our apartment, because I thought the whole world was passing judgment on me for my inability to get my newborn to stop crying. I also thought it was a cruel joke that my first baby had seldom cried and now I couldn’t get my second baby to come anywhere near settling down and being quiet, except for when I gave him a bottle which he would gustily suck down only to projectile vomit the contents of the bottle all over me and onto the nearest wall minutes later. I felt I was in a nightmare that wouldn’t end. I survived and, amazingly, so did my son. As a result, I did, however, learn a few tips and tricks for getting a child to go to sleep (or at least be quiet).
10 TIPS TO GET YOUR CHILD TO SLEEP
1) Rocking really does work. Grandma was right. (Maybe she learned from experience, too?)
2) White noise (a fan, noise machine, music, etc.) helps soothe an infant. It’ll help calm you, too, which is an added bonus.
3) Going for a car ride, although often used as a last resort, puts most infants to sleep within a few minutes. The trick is to keep the baby sleeping after you return from your road-trip excursion around town.
4) Tag team with someone else (your spouse/partner, friend, relative, neighbor, anyone to give you a break). Newborns can sense when you are stressed out and it makes them stressed as well.
5) Let the child have another bottle, even if it’s only water. Sucking is comforting to a baby, and will often calm the baby down.
6) Gently massage your baby’s forehead or back. This is reassuring and will help your little sweetie relax and go to sleep.
7) Remain calm with your infant. Getting upset will not calm him/her down. It will only agitate the child, which is not your goal.
8) Sing quietly to your bundle of joy. Your soothing voice will calm your baby and help him/her to relax.
9) Keep the lights turned down low at night. Even when you have to get up with the baby in the middle of the night, don’t turn on lights or make a lot of noise. The goal here is to take care of the baby’s needs (a fresh diaper and something to drink) and get her to go back to sleep.
10) Count to 10. This will help relax you and put things into perspective. It will also help you to be more calm with the baby.
Understand that your little person is not crying to annoy you or to make your life difficult. Your baby is brand new to this world and doesn’t have things figured out just yet. You are the link to food, comfort, a dry diaper, love and safety and your tiny angel is learning how to communicate his/her needs to you. And believe it or not, there will come a day when the crying will become less frequent and you will get a full night’s sleep again.