The Babywearing Encyclopaedia of Sleep: Getting them Down

Babywearing helps your baby to settle to sleep- that much is clear to everyone who owns a comfortable carrier. This post offers some tips and tricks to help it along- but are you creating a difficult sleep-association? Should you settle your baby to sleep regularly in a carrier? If you do, how do you put them down? These are some other questions about babywearing sleep.

How to Get Them There

Old-hands at babywearing have this one down, but if you’re relatively new at babywearing, this may help. If you want to help your baby off to sleep using a carrier then anything that’s comfortable for you and the baby will do- front, hip or back carries.

Babywearing nap-time is a big advantage when you’re out and about. You don’t need to run at the first sign of a tired baby, just put the baby in your carrier and start moving. Babies, toddlers and even bigger kids settle down to sleep this way very easily.

Generally, the easiest way to settle them down to sleep in the carrier is to walk- a gentle walking motion that is continuous is a sure-fire way to get them down. Some babies resist it more than others, but very few can do so altogether. A gentle sway, rock or pat are also good ways of getting them to sleep. Generally, upright carries are more comfortable over the long term than cradle carries.

Highly resistant or distressed babies sometimes need extra help, though. Breastfeeding in your carrier is a sure-fire combination. Alternatively, a dummy if you use one may offer the soothing suck-and-motion combination.

Lastly, like all sure-fire baby-sleep-tricks: it doesn’t always work. Sometimes you can walk for miles, bounce like a zumba instructor and pat until your hand is about to fall off, only to find that your child is still wide-awake and grinning. Or worse, grumpy. Don’t worry: try again later. It’s not you, it’s not your carrier: it’s the baby!

Sleep Associations: Good, Bad- or Just Don’t Worry?

Breastfeeding to sleep, rocking to sleep, carrying to sleep: problematic, great or individual?

The answer is definitely individual.

A sleep association is a pattern of behaviour developed over time to encourage the baby to sleep. Some babies are very specific and only want to settle down to sleep while ¬†breastfeeding, for example. For some parents, this is a problem. For others, it’s seen as a bonus.

Dr Sears recommends getting your baby used to multiple associations for sleeping. Babywearing is one of them. Chances are, you won’t leap out of bed every time your newborn cries and put them in a sling, so babywearing is just one way of settling him/her down. It’s also a great way to swap between parents and caregivers- the method is consistent, but the carer settling the baby can change.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the holy grail: Putting them Down!

How do you get them to sleep? Any sure-fire methods? What’s your favourite carrier to do it in? Leave a comment and let us know!

About Steph

Steph is a Mum of three with a passion for babywearing and some excellent skills with knots.
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