The phrase “I slept like a baby” is thrown around way too casually by people that people that, I have noticed, usually don’t have a baby of their own. If they did, I think they’d be a bit more careful with what they say. In reality, babies don’t sleep all that well, in fact, they’re kinda terrible at it for a good long while. There have been many nights where I didn’t know how to get the kids to sleep.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom here folks! No, far from it! In my few short years of putting kids to sleep, I have found some strategies and methods that worked well for my kids, which I’d like to pass along to you, whether you are a new dad or just one who is struggling with a fussy baby. Alright, here goes nothin’!
Every Kid Is Different
First off, I need to clarify the type of baby that I have experience with, and you, the reader, will need to cut me some slack as far as whether or not these tips will work for every child. Full disclosure, they most likely won’t! My kids need to be held pretty much all the time, and so my methods reflect that.
If you are lucky enough to be able to put your little one down and soothe them to sleep, that’s awesome! However, even if all of these methods won’t work for you, don’t be afraid to test them out.
Use A Pacifier If You Can
My kids, as I mentioned before, loved to be held. They also loved to nurse to sleep, which worked for my wife, but not so much for me. That is why I was so glad that they would take a pacifier! It helped to give them the same soothing sensation they loved from nursing but allowed me to give my wife a break. Some parents, for whatever reason, look down on pacifiers, but I say, if it works, use it!
Tried, true, and will work for you, singing is my personal favorite way to help my kids settle in and get to sleep. Why? Well, for starters, you can do it literally anywhere. Whether you are in the car, at the park, or in their room, you can always bust out a little sleepy time song for them. And it doesn’t have to be a lullaby. My wife and I would sing the same songs that we listen to in the car, since the kids heard them all the time, even in utero. The familiarity puts them right at ease and helps them to conk out.
Once your baby graduates from a rock and play or bassinet and is ready for their crib, you should totally check into a high-quality crib soother. They’ll help you to save your singing voice and give your baby a chance to practice soothing themselves to sleep without forcing them to cry it out, which is an absolutely huge plus.
If singing doesn’t work, try out the shush train. Basically, you just keep going shh to your baby until they fall asleep. Of course, if you always do it the same way, you’re probably going to fall asleep yourself from boredom. Spice it up a bit! Shush to the tune of a song or in a pattern. Don’t be afraid to experiment with it and I’m sure you’ll come across one that works for you and your baby.
I usually liked to sit in a chair with my kids, but occasionally they needed to be walked around the room and swayed a bit to soothe. When combined with some high-quality shushing or singing, this usually would do the trick, though it can get tiring when your baby gets a bit bigger.
Some nights and there will be some nights; nothing will seem to work. No amount of nursing, singing, shushing, or swaying will get your little one to drift off to sleep. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and taking a drive is as desperate as it gets. I will say though, by the point that you bust this last resort out, your kid is usually so tired that they will fall asleep right away.
However, you don’t want that to happen to you! Whenever I did this with my kids, I always made sure to stop by the local coffee shop and load up on large iced coffee. They always did the trick and allowed me to keep going way past my bedtime.
I really hope that some of these methods will work out well for you when you are trying to put your baby to sleep at night. I know how tough it can be when they just won’t fall asleep, but don’t worry! Now you have some new tools for your parenting tool belt that you can bust out when necessary. If you have any questions, comments, or advice of your own, please let me know about it in the comments section below. Have a great day!