Many mothers already in the hospital have time to feel the great power of breastfeeding and, in particular, its calming effect on the newborn. Sometimes the most noisy toddler falls asleep on a mother’s breast in a matter of minutes, and many mothers actively use this.
However, sometimes breast alone is not enough. In such a case, I found an option that helped me put both daughters to bed almost 100% of the time, even when they did not really want to sleep.
This option turned out to be a kind of “combo” of different methods. Relaxed (biological) feeding was taken as a basis. I lay on my back at about a 45-degree angle (putting a pillow under my back), and laid the child parallel from above, belly to belly, applying it to my chest and holding it with my hand (a pregnancy pillow was also placed under the elbows).
Simultaneously with feeding, I began to sway a little left and right, up and down, back and forth (depending on the preferences of the baby, which, by the way, could periodically change). In addition, I gently rhythmically patted my daughter on the back and sang the same lullaby every time, which became associated with sleep. It is worth noting that each of the girls had their own lullaby: the older one had a fairly standard “ah-ah, ah-ah”, but the younger approved only “mmm” for the motif of “Loaf”. As I fell asleep, the patting turned into stroking, the swaying became less and less frequent, and the lullaby became quieter.
With a certain height and weight of the child, it becomes difficult to lay along. At this stage, I began to lay perpendicularly, in a kind of “cradle”, only lying down. The baby seemed to be kneeling on the side of me and, at the same time, lay with her breast on me, kissing the opposite breast. Then everything is the same: a slight wiggle, a lullaby melody and light rhythmic pats to the beat.
Using this option for each laying is, of course, energy-intensive. However, in emergencies, when you need to pack right now, it worked perfectly for about a year and two months.
When laying on the chest is not suitable
Not so often, but still there are toddlers who are not eager to fall asleep on their chest. And sometimes the mother just wants to have a backup option for putting the baby to bed, without the help of the breast, or the child, in principle, is artificially fed, etc. Usually the alternative is motion sickness, but the child grows and becomes more and more difficult to carry him in his arms, so the standard vertical motion sickness is also difficult to consider as a good solution.
My eldest daughter and I got used to falling asleep like this: after feeding, I sat on the bed, leaning my back on the pillow, and took the baby in my arms in a “column”. Slightly shaking it, I gradually slid down the pillow. As a result, she perfectly fell asleep to the beat of her heart, lying belly on her mother’s belly. After a while, she could slide on her side and sleep just next to me. This option saved us during gazes, teething (when in a dream the baby could bite her chest if she was in her mouth), as well as with a runny nose. It was especially pleasing that the baby could also fall asleep on her dad’s chest, which gave me the opportunity to devote some time to myself (it’s banal to go to the shower and brush my teeth).
The youngest daughter was initially skeptical about the breast (she liked to suck her thumb much more), but at the same time she could not imagine life without hugs. Until 5 months, I practically did not let her out of my hands (except when I put her next to her and hugged her or put her in a sling). I practically did not have to lay her down purposefully – she fell asleep perfectly herself.
Sometimes this happened in the process of normal wearing on the hands (more precisely, on the arm, with the second hand I was doing household chores, and the child was simultaneously falling asleep unnoticed).
Sometimes I didn’t need to move. In this case, holding the baby in my hands, I stroked her eyebrows with my finger, provoking the closing of the peephole, or rhythmically kissing her forehead / nose.
The sling also helped out during the day. With the correct winding, the babies feel in the sling no worse than in the arms of their mother, so they could just go about their business, and the baby fell asleep in parallel. If I couldn’t fall asleep, and it was very important to go to bed right now, I would connect our lullaby melody and rhythmic clapping, shaking my body left and right or simply moving back and forth. At the age of three months, when my daughter began to be actively interested in the world and it was not easy for her to fall asleep, in addition to falling asleep (when the baby clearly began to show signs of readiness for sleep), I buttoned up my jacket / sweatshirt, put on top, so that I could breathe freely, but there was no temptation to be distracted.
Sleeping at night was a little more difficult. The youngest daughter slept only in her mother’s arms. Dad could be replaced, but not for long. Swaddling in any form was categorically rejected even from the hospital (by the way, my children did not recognize blankets and other covering devices for at least a year). So, I had to adapt to sleep in such a way that the baby was surrounded by me on all sides. Her face was in front of my chest, above her head was my arm, bent at the elbow and additionally covering the upper back. My “upper” arm covered my lower back. The butt was under the cover of my bent legs. At first it was hard to sleep in this position, but calmly for 3-4 hours already in the first weeks of life. It was worth at least a little to break this structure, the baby woke up if not immediately,
Regardless of how you lay down, bedtime rituals (a certain set of actions that are repeated every time before bedtime) and sleep associations (for example, the same lullaby, the same place to sleep, etc.) help to tune in to sleep. ). Their presence makes it clear that it is time to sleep. In addition, repetitive actions give the child a sense of security and sleep much better in a safe environment.
Thus, alas, there is no one fitting option suitable for all babies (or even for one child at different periods). It is necessary to try different ways, tracking the baby’s reaction, listening to him.
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