I am in no way suggesting that i am an expert when it comes to newborns but now that i am on baby number 3 i have discovered a few things which do help to settle a newborn in the early weeks.
With each baby I have had the advice from the hospital has been different; “you shouldn’t swaddle your baby”, “have you tried swaddling your baby?”. Well, I have done it with all three of mine. With Little Bean and Jelly Bean they responded really well and love being swaddled. Little Bean slept through from 8 weeks and Jelly Bean has already slept through 5 times and he is only 7 weeks. I use the Miracle swaddling blanket from Mothercare which has ‘wings’ on the inside to keep their arms by their sides.
Beanie Boy on the other hand, hated being swaddled (incidentally he didn’t really start sleeping through until way over a year and still often wakes in the night?).
Pat in a heartbeat
Patting a crying baby is just one of those things that you instinctively do. Quite by trial and error we found that patting our babies bottoms very gently in the rhythm of a heartbeat settles them. I guess it reminds them of being in the womb.
Hold their hands together against their chest
My Health Visitor told me this one as I had stripped my baby down to his nappy to be weighed. He went scarlet through screaming at being nearly naked and was barely catching his breath. I held his hands together against his chest using one of my hands and within 30 seconds he had stopped crying and fallen back to sleep. Again, I can only assume this reminds them of being tightly held in the womb.
Shhhhh loudly in their ear
When any of mine have got overly upset I have held them close in the upright position with one hand cradling the back of their head then placed their head close to my face whilst saying “shhhhh” quite loudly in their ear. I suppose this is the same as using ‘white noise’ to settle them and is especially good when you don’t have access to white noise.
Sit them in front of the washing machine or turn on your hairdryer
This is the white noise I was talking about, obviously though this isn’t great for the middle of the night (especially if you have more than one child and don’t want to risk waking them). My babies have always settled well if I have placed their bouncer near the washing machine or if they have been in the same room as me whilst I have been drying my hair. Anything similar will work just as well, tumble dryer or vacuum cleaner perhaps.
These are just a few of the ways that I have found to settle my babies but I am sure that other people have found others which are effective so please if you have a tip then do share it in a comment below. I know many people have found going out for a drive in the car or a walk in the buggy work well but I never fancied going for a drive in the middle of the night.
Finally, good luck with your newborn and make the most of this time, they are only tiny for a short space of time!!