How to help newborn settle themselves?(13 Posts)
We have a 2 week old and a 3 yr old. Baby is lovely and cuddly and is generally a good sleeper. However, he can't seem to settle himself - he really loves being held close whilst sucking his dummy.
Now this is all well and good as I am loving the closeness, but its obviously not practical a lot if the time i.e. during the night when I am desperate to get back to sleep after he has fed or during the day when I have the other one to look after and play with/cook for/put to bed etc!
He also loves being in the sling which has its place and is great. However I don't want bad habits to develop early on but at the same time don't want to leave him to cry as he is so young x
Aww "bad habits" sounds so strict when they're so little, 2 weeks seems so soon after being inside you for 9 months, no wonder he still loves being close and probably reacts very quickly and noisily to being set down or left.
The sling is a good idea, do what you can wearing it and carrying him next to you. Can I ask do you have a moses basket or cot, I would try first of all sleeping with a t-shirt of mine under me for a couple of nights then when you put him down to snooze, let him lie on that in his moses basket or cot so he can smell his Mum. Or just use the same comfort blanket, (better have two so one is in the wash while the other's in use). Even better have a hot water bottle in there beforehand, (obviously remove it before laying him down), that way he is cosy and not lying on a cool sheet.
People have recommended white noise, that is supposed to be soothing for daytime naps. Doesn't work for everyone.
At night time I would give swaddling a go, sounds biblical but it can feel reassuring to little ones.
I don't what you found worked with your 3 year old at this stage, in all honesty I don't think I found a reliable method until mine were both at least 3 months or so. A friend of mine had her mother come and stay, was thrilled Gran had no problem rocking baby to sleep. When she returned home, my friend found her DD wouldn't settle without up to an hour's walking or rocking.
Try Tizzie Hall's book Save Our Sleep. She spells out exactly how to help a baby self-sooth to sleep. We used her from birth for DS2 and got the evenings back immediately. He's also known now as the 'incredible sleeping baby'! I did nothing magic, just followed her word for word. Love her.
Hmm hate to say it nails but you were probably lucky. I know plenty of people who think it's all straightforward if you do the right thing, then alon comes DC2 who just won't play ball.
An HV gave me some very good advice that really helped me when I was totally broken by the clinginess: it is much easier if you accept that this is how things are for now and just get on with it. I basically had an end point in sight (napping in cot, sleeping at night...!) and just worked gradually towards it. The number of naps on me/ in sling gradually diminished and she was napping 90% in cot by 9 months so it didn't last forever. Incidentally when she first went to nursery they did most of her naps in a bouncy chair - seemed soothing.
I just cosleep and don't put him down! He's 5 months now and sleeping fine by himself in a cot from 7 to 11 then with me again from 11.15 to 8am. I don't think you need to worry about bad habits, you can change any habit in a few weeks.
Tizzie Hall also worked for us, but I think ds has the kind of temperament which is compatible with routine. All the books are worth a read and then pick the bits you like from them. Ds started to self settle at about 4mo, before that he used to be fed to sleep.
I think they either sleep or they don't and what you do has very little to do with it! I would just carry in with the sling and before you know it he will be doing something else anyway.
He's far too little to worry about bad habits.
Thank you folks, reassuring to know that it will probably happen in time! I simply cannot remember how our first child was at this age! Might try the book recommendation. Have just bought a swaddle pod to see if he likes that too. He did settle in the crib last night with me stroking his head and shushing him.... So going to try that where possible x
You can try this little trick
Put him in his swaddle, say it's bedtime now DS, then simultaneously rub his tummy and tap him on his shoulder with the other hand while saying shhhh shhh shhh shhh. The shhss should be rhythmic, like the waves at the sea going in and out on the shore. This tricks them into sleep in a number of ways. First, it sounds like the sound of your heart pumping blood aroudn your body just like being in the womb. Second, young brains can't concentrate on more than one thing at once. The tapping and rubbing distracts him from crying (can't cry and think about tapping at the same time: overload!). Then, when his eyes start closing, soften your shhh shh to make it more quiet, then gently slip out of the room.
Worked for both my babies. Only one liked a dummy. Both liked swaddling (merino wool is great for this).
I personally would avoid the sleeping in the sling / co-sleeping thing as I think it can be very hard to break these habits. Start as you mean to go on and all that.
By the way, do the tap-rub trick when he's lying on his back in the crib. Not when you're holding him.
I have a 2yo and 2mo. The 2mo self-settles remarkably well but her older brother was a nightmare to get to sleep. What did I do differently this time? Sod all. I treat them both the same. I sling. Pick up at first cry. Bf to sleep. Co-sleep. All the 'bad' things for baby's sleep. Yet one has self-settled from birth and the other only learnt that at 14mo.
I firmly believe you can have very little impact on your baby's sleep (unless you go down draconian sleep training routes but why would you?). Little babies need the closeness of mum and some babies just need this more than others. Go on your baby's cues.
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