Baby Sleep Support Because There is Nothing More Beautiful Than a Sleeping Baby
Here are a few baby sleep support tips you can use from the Certified Doulas at Welcome Baby Care
If you’ve been following our blog for the past few years, you know that sleep is something we talk about a lot. Because we all need it. And while the mamas and the papas know they need it, the babies can take a little convincing. Meaning baby sleep support becomes a necessity.
It’s not that they’re not tired or that they don’t want to sleep, as much as they’re not totally convinced. The little ones are also significantly affected by external stimuli. All the noises and faces and unchecked sensory input that we as adults don’t even notice or think about, is like a shot of espresso to their little systems.
We’ve talked about the importance of routine in our series on baby sleep tips and new mom sleep tips (we all benefit from routine), but today we’re going to talk about a practice that offers genuine baby sleep support, and that means the adults get to sleep too.
We’re talking about swaddling…
Swaddling has a magical soothing effect, especially if it’s started early, i.e. immediately following birth. Swaddling wraps Baby into a safe little burrito that helps her feel calm and content, just like in those days back in the womb.
How does it work?
There are a variety of ways to swaddle a baby, but the basic principle involves laying baby on a square blanket that has been folded in half to make a triangle. Bring up the bottom point, then tuck each of the side points until Baby looks like a little torpedo. YouTube will be your friend here.
Others will go with a sort of self-swaddling sleepsack that gives you some handy Velcro tabs, while removing all the guesswork. Either way, the idea is to pin those arms (in the early months) and make Baby as snug as a bug in a rug.
Why does it work?
It works because it diminishes the startle reflex, which is amplified when the arms are out and flailing about. You’ve seen a newborn hanging out on a blanket. What do they do? Awkwardly shake their arms around like a maniac. It takes a little while to adjust to life on the outside and babies feel safer and more secure when they are snugly wrapped up and contained. And babies who feel safe and secure are babies who sleep.
As Baby gets older, you can start to remove an arm or two from the swaddle, while leaving the abdomen and legs wrapped up. Later, many parents transition to a non-swaddling sleepsack.
As always, remember to put Baby on her back. This is the safest sleep position and can help reduce the rick of SIDS. Cribs and sleeping surfaces should be free of blankets, bumpers, pillows and stuffed animals.