The baby didn’t want to sleep in his crib last night, now what?”. It must be one of the most frequently asked questions when the midwife makes a home visit the day after returning home from the maternity hospital. Well yes. What then? Here are some tips from a midwife!
How to get the baby to sleep in crib
First of all: most mini babies don’t need to know much about that cuddly crib in the beginning. Perfectly normal, therefore, that your child does not want to sleep in his bed during those first few days. On the other hand, it is of course also completely normal that you do want to sleep. When I go on a home visit, I therefore always give parents a few suggestions. Of course, that one golden sleeping tip does not exist. But I do have a list of ‘try tips’, from which they can choose what suits them.
Follow your gut feeling
That’s always been my first piece of advice. When the baby sleeps, he sleeps. And then you also get rest. Double points and everyone happy. So do what works right now, and what feels right. Did you always have in your head: ‘no way, I never take my baby to bed’ and after one night you think: ‘hey, I’ll just do it, at least he will sleep’, then that’s just the way it is, isn’t it? Follow your gut feeling.
Preheat the crib
A baby who is placed straight out of your wonderfully warm arms into a bed sometimes dares to wake up with a fright. How do you feel when you fall asleep in front of the TV and then have to crawl between the far too cold sheets? Not. Cool. So preheat the bed with a cherry stone pillow. That makes the transition a bit less abrupt. Is the bed nice and warm? Baby in = heat source out. The cherry seed should not be left with the sleeping baby. Make sure you get the right crib sheets and blankets.
Comfy nest for your baby
Your baby just slept in a ball for nine months. Lying flat on his back is therefore not exactly his preferred position. But of course we know that babies – to prevent cot death – do sleep best on their backs. Hmmm. So how do you ensure a comfy pose, without sacrificing cot death prevention? To imitate the in-the-gut feeling, you can make a comfy nest for your baby – in the cradle, in the bed or next to you. You do that like this:
With a towel. Take a large towel and roll it up. Place it in a U-shape. The baby’s poop rests against the bottom of the u. This way he can lie comfortably with his legs raised.
With the sausage pillow. Place the sausage pillow in an inverted u-shape. Put a soft, fabric changing pad cover (not plastic ones) over it. A small dimple forms in the center of the pillow. Your baby can lie on his back in a ball. Attention: watch out that your baby cannot sink down and only do this with a pregnancy pillow that is filled with balls, not with a fabric pillow.
Even the co-sleeper is ‘too far’ for many babies in the beginning. To help your baby fall asleep, put your face as close to him as possible. Really: just crawl headfirst into that co-sleeper. Caress the nose until he falls asleep. Once your baby is sound asleep (are you sure? Do the arms test: lift the baby’s arm, let it go. If it falls down ‘like a log’, you’re safe), roll back into your own place bed.
And in bed?
“Sleeping with your baby is not recommended.” Uhu. But as a midwife, I know that parents will do it anyway. Understandable, because close to mom is often the only place where a baby wants to sleep. And you can’t go on forever either. A few things you shouldn’t do:
Never take the baby under your duvet. The baby does not lie under your duvet (a down is much too warm!), but has its own baby blanket.
Make sure that the air above your baby’s head can circulate freely and well. So not in the bassinet of the pram with the hood up.
Sleep on a firm mattress. Never on a waterbed. Don’t put your baby on a fluffy pillow in which he can sink into.
Make sure your baby cannot fall out of bed.
Make sure it can’t get into a crevice. Also remove all pillows from your child.
Never co-sleep with your baby if you are under the influence of alcohol or if you are a smoker. The same goes for your partner.
Try wrapping your baby
Not every baby needs it, but some children miss the safe feeling of the cramped uterus after birth. They wave their arms (also during their sleep) because they are looking for the boundary of the uterine wall. This way they can accidentally ‘wake’ themselves up again and again. Wrapping the baby can then bring peace. You can read how to do that here.
Let us know if you have other tips! How to get your baby to sleep in the crib seems to be challenge for many parents.