Indispensible Newborn Tips26 Sep 2017
As any parent will tell you, dealing with a baby is a lot of trial and error. The saying goes “that you cannot spoil a newborn”, however I think it is plainly obvious that newborns as young as 1 month learn at such a fast pace that bad habits can set in fast.
Almost immediately on bringing little Rosalind home, I knew that at night I would not be able to rock her back to sleep. I know some people might find that a bit selfish, but to me it made no sense that I should use my time/sleep/energy on rocking when eventually we’d have to wean her off of it. My goal was to make everyone happier and more rested so we could focus on more important things we her during the day.
I found a great blog dealing with sleep-training babies. One technique they talk about is called the shush-pat. Where when a baby is in the bassinet/crib and is fussy all you do is place a hand on their back, tap it rhythmically and make a loud, continuous “shushing” sound. No picking up, no rocking, no jiggling. And by some stroke of luck, it works wonders for us. Now sometimes, we have to shush-pat several times but this usually does not take more than 20 minutes (rarely) and then Rosalind is down for at least 2-3 hours.
Now, the blog recommends swaddling to be combined with shush-pat. We never could get Rosie to take to swaddling, she would cry and cry. We are now at the point now with shush-pat working without it, we don’t really think we need to introduce it as it would eventually have to be taken away anyway. Why introduce a sleep crutch that is not needed. We do see a lot of flailing and sometimes the “jerk” wakes little Rosie up, but I think she’s quickly learning how to deal with it.
For naps, we fell into a habit of holding her in a front loaded carrier. She loves it, falls asleep quickly and for long periods (4 hours) but we could also see that this was becoming yet another type of crutch. So we’ve gone back to lightly rocking, putting down in crib while still awake, shush-patting when fussy and it seems to be working! Both during the day and the evening she has started crying and has been able to put herself back to sleep. My baby is growing up too fast!
I think the important thing to realize is that shush-patting happens directly where the baby sleeps, so the association with it is tied directly to where they will wake up/fall asleep. This is a very minor crutch which can easily be withdrawn.
Shush-patting is only supposed to work until around 6 months, when it becomes too stimulating. The next step recommended by the blog is called “Pick Up/Put Down”. I’m hoping that will work for us when the time calls for it.