Yesterday we talked about getting babies down to sleep. Today we’re talking about how to put them down. Let me be very clear to start with: some babies are very, very difficult to put down. Some stages of baby development make this very difficult. A preschooler can be tossed out of the carrier onto the bed and stay asleep. A baby under four weeks old can often sleep through just about anything (although please don’t toss them!). The ages between can require considerably more finesse: welcome to the “ninja sneak”.
Some parents are perfectly happy to wear their babies through all their naps, every day. They prefer not to deal with the difficulties of the ninja sneak and prefer to continue on with their child blissfully asleep. This is fine. Other parents want and need a physical and emotional break from their blissfully sleeping children: there’s nothing wrong with that!
Before you attempt to put your baby down, make sure he/she is very deeply asleep. Trying to get them out of the carrier at the wrong stage of the sleep cycle is the easiest way to was them up again. One way of telling is to tickle them: behind the ear, their knee or their bare foot are all likely places. A light tickle won’t wake them, but if they move- they’re not deeply asleep yet. Keep them in the carrier!
When you’re ready to risk it (or desperate to take a shower), the golden rule is to go slow! Here’s how I recommend you do it
– Either loosen your carrier or unclip it while holding the baby with one hand. If you need to jiggle/rock to keep them asleep at this stage, you may want to retighten and try again later.
-Lower them slowly into their sleeping space while holding them to you.
-Once they’re down, stay close to them (you don’t want any sudden change in temperature)
– Remove your hand from beneath them slowly and then gradually straighten up.
– Sneak away!
This method isn’t foolproof. Sometimes babies wake and many parents find it easier simply to keep them in the carrier. Bear in mind that as they grow older they are easier to put down as their sleep behaviour matures. But it is a slow and frustrating process! Once they’re down though, you’re free: for awhile 😉
Do you do the ninja sneak? How do you put your babies down? Are they easy or impossible to disentangle from? Leave a comment and let us know!