For infants younger than 4 months we recommend swaddling. The tightness and movement-restriction your baby is used to in the womb is replicated by using a nice tight swaddle. It is important to swaddle them for each of their day sleeps as well as at night; this will help your baby settle easier and sleep for longer.
We recommend the following swaddles:
White noise is another tool you can use to settle your baby which is designed to mimic their womb experience. Your baby isn’t used to being in a silent room – they are used to sounds of up to 90 decibels in utero!
The types of white noise we’d recommend are:
Anything that has a constant rhythmic sound it perfect and it needs to be played quite loud, especially if your baby is crying. Leave the white noise on for the duration of your baby’s sleep, however the volume can be lowered at night to the level of a shower.
A sound we’d highly recommend as an effective settling tool is our own Baby Sleep Shhh track, available in the album on our website or from Spotify, iTunes and the Google Play Store.
Babies get very easily overstimulated when they’re awake and this makes it difficult for them to wind down to sleep. Putting them in a dark room is extremely calming for a baby. You’d be surprised at how just a tiny bit of light coming into the room can affect your baby’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep once beyond 8 weeks old. We’d recommend getting some blackout curtains or using a dark blanket underneath your existing curtains to achieve the same effect. When settling your baby or tending to them during their sleep, make sure you do so in the dark so as not to overstimulate them.
Pacifiers can be really effective tools to help babies settle and sleep – the desire to suck is very strong in babies and they find sucking incredibly calming. You do need to decide if you’re going to use a pacifier, whether you’re prepared to go the distance with it! It can mean a few frustrating months of having to replace the pacifier each time it falls out between 3-6 months, however from around 6 months old babies can begin to learn to replace it themselves. Alternatively you can use the pacifier for the first few months and as long as you ditch it by around 3.5 months your baby shouldn’t have developed too strong a sleep association with it.
If you choose to stick with a pacifier, we’d recommend a product called Sleepytot, which is a comforter that can hold 4 pacifiers on it’s paws, making it a lot easier for babies to find and insert their own pacifiers in the night!
A comforter or lovey is an item (usually a soft toy or blankie) that your baby finds calming and associates with sleep. These are great tools and really easy for your baby to use themselves. Make sure you choose a comforter that is made of natural, breathable fabric so it doesn’t pose a risk to baby in their cot. We recommend safe sleep practices when it comes to toys or blankets in your baby's sleeping space.
If your baby is unsettled or overtired and they need help drifting off to sleep, movement is a really effective tool. They are used to a lot of swaying and jostling in the womb, so replicating this movement is a great way to calm them down. This is why many babies find it so easy to sleep in the car or stroller. Using a rocking bassinet, baby hammock or even a baby swing are effective ways to use movement to settle your baby.
Instinctively when we are comforting a baby we pat their back or tap their bottoms. This is actually mimicking the heartbeat sensation they would have been exposed to constantly in the womb, and in fact, when baby was in the birth position mum’s heartbeat would have been able to be felt near baby’s bottom! If your baby is unsettled, pat them with strong rhythmic beats on their back or bottom and this will help them settle and sleep.
Using these techniques in combination will ensure your baby is able to be settled and falls asleep easily, giving you the peace of mind and confidence in your ability to calm your little one.