How To Get A Baby To Sleep
What is he Trying to Say?
Most mothers rapidly learn to recognize their own baby’s cry. But it may take you a little longer to sort out his different cries one from another, by which time you may have got used to reacting to his cry in a certain way.
When your little baby cries at night, you feed him and he falls asleep. Later, he cries at night, you feed him and he remains awake. It’s time for a change. You need to begin to decipher his different cries and respond accordingly. If you can identify what his cry means, you will be better able to meet his needs.
Kim, mother of Rowan, three, and Lloyd, four months, has learnt that her baby has different sleep patterns to her daughter:
At night when Lloyd cries out, I don’t rush in at the first moan, it’s just him coming to and calling in his sleep, I know that if I leave him he’ll go back to sleep for 40 minutes or an hour, but when he cries again that means he really is hungry, and I go.’
How To Get A Baby To Sleep Photo Gallery
Some parents Some don’t like solving a sleeping problem by leaving their baby to cry even when he is no longer experiencing separation anxiety because they believe that the baby will feel helpless, rejected and frightened. Yet research suggests that, when following a behaviour modification programme to help their baby to sleep (like the ones in Post 11), parents rate their babies as:
• slightly more secure
• less tense or emotional
• more agreeable, and
• more likeable.
Maybe the babies hadn’t changed. Maybe the parents just felt more positive after a good night’s sleep. But this in itself is good news. A baby whose parents think he is agreeable is more likely to grow into an agreeable toddler.
Listen to the cry before you go. Decide what sort of cry it is. Is he frantic, angry, sad, hungry? Deal in the most appropriate way with that emotion. A hungry baby obviously wants food. But a sad or frantic baby may just want a cuddle. And an angry baby may just need to know that you are still around but that you expect him to sleep now.
Of course, a few babies cry at night because they are in pain. It isn’t always easy to spot this cry, because it’s so unexpected, but if your baby is in pain he will not be able to respond to a sleeping programme.
Something that helped us to cope when times were bad was changing our attitude, that is focusing on the fact that Ella was in pain from the colic and needed our help, rather than feeling that she was crying just because she was awkward! This made us feel sorry for her more than angry with her. Also accepting that we didn’t have to make her stop crying (something we could only fail at) but just needed to be with her while she cried. In retrospect maybe this was a factor in Ella becoming more settled and peaceful.’
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