Setting the stage:
Remove baby to a calm setting which will most likely be his or your room. Get the room ready for sleep by closing the blinds, turning on music or doing
whatever it is you do (see some of the ideas in pre-sleep routine). Try to keep things low key to help your little one calm down and transition for sleep time.
Swaddling is absolutely essential to help your young baby sleep better. See swaddling.
This is the really important part where a lot of people start throwing in "accidental parenting" techniques and sleep props to get baby to sleep. After you have set the stage and swaddled baby you sit with baby in your arms in a vertical position--preferably with his face tucked into your neck or shoulder so he doesn't have any visual stimulation. Next you sit nice and still (that's right, no wiggling, jiggling or rocking) with baby until you start to feel him relax and maybe jerk a little too as he tries to descend into sleep. Some babies may even cry for a few minutes during the sitting as they try to settle themselves down. The "sitting" may take 5 or so minutes but will vary depending on the baby. Once you feel baby relax and his breathing gets slower and deeper you place him into his crib, ideally before he falls asleep. As you place baby in his crib say some comforting goodbye words to him that also let him know what is happening (e.g. "Your going to sleep now. I'll see you when you get up") As long as baby stays calm you can leave the room. If he is fussy or crying move onto the shush-pat below.
Generally the "sitting" length decreases as baby gets older and more used to going to sleep on his own. As he gets older, the sitting is more of a calm down time before sleep, rather than a time for him to get drowsy like it was when he very young.
The shush-pat is suppose to be used in babies under 6 months old that are fussy or cry when transitioning for sleep or when you place them in their beds. If a baby is over 3 months old and the shush pat doesn't work then you can move onto P.U./P.D.
Additional Tips not from the Baby Whisperer
- Many people I know use this method but instead of doing the shush-pat do CIO (cry it out). The length they do CIO varies with the age of the baby, how their baby responds, and how comfortable they feel with CIO.
- I have noticed that sometimes calming your baby down with the shush-pat instead of letting him cry for a couple minutes during the sitting stage actually prolongs your routine and how long it takes baby to calm down. Some babies will fuss on and off for 30 minutes if not more while you shush-pat them every time they fuss/cry (remember that they are getting more over tired every second they are up) but if allowed to cry for a couple minutes will quickly stop fussing and be ready for sleep.
- If baby gets really fussy before this routine or even during it I might throw in several seconds of movement to help calm him (i.e. do knee squats a dozen times--works wonders in a fussy baby) and then I will continue with the sit down routine. I try not to overdue this movement. If you put baby to bed with good timing not much of it should be necessary, except for maybe in the evening newborn fussy periods.
- Adjust the 4 s routine to what works best for you and your baby. If your baby doesn't like to be held vertically, hold him horizontally. If your baby is one that has a hard time relaxing before sleep, feel free to walk around or rock for a few minutes before you sit still (you should work on weaning from this as baby gets older and better at transitioning from one sleep state to the next). With one of my newborns I walked around for a few minutes before sitting and then I would rock and pat (partly to get any lingering burps out, partly because it was an unconscious action) for a short time before sitting totally still and continuing my singing/humming. Then I would put the baby down. Both of my boys eventually started to resist the sitting and would get more upset, so after we'd read a book while snuggling, it was right to sleep. One of them started to be ok with sitting and snuggling before sleep as he got older while the other one never did well with that again.
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