1. Wear your baby
I remember when my youngest daughter was a newborn. She would not sleep. I couldn't put her in the cot/bassinet because she kept on crying hysterically. She was overtired and desperately wanted to sleep but kept on waking up every 10 minutes when placed in the cot. And this made her more upset and even more tired. It was a vicious cycle and would last for the whole day.
The only way her sleep would last for 1 cycle (45-60 minutes) was if she went to sleep on me. This is normal behaviour for newborns because they need to be physically close to their parents and need a lot of reassurances and comfort.
During the day, I wear her with a baby wrap carrier, leaving both my hands free to attend to housework and my other daughter.
2. Dark quiet room
I am guilty of dismissing the importance of this settling technique.
I dismissed it because seriously who has the time to spend hours on settling a crying baby in a dark and quiet room when you have another screaming toddler begging for your attention?!
Until I got desperate and set my mind to it.
If you read my post about 4 month old suddenly losing interest in milk, you would have known that a dark and quiet room was the main solution to my problem.
When my baby was waking up 30 minutes after she was put down to sleep, it was a lot of settling and re-settling in a dark and quiet room. Pat, rock and keep doing the "SSHHH" sound for as long as it takes. Stay relentless and consistent in your settling method to establish a routine.
Plus newborns get stimulated really easily. And when they are already overtired, settling them in a room with activity and sounds will most probably stimulate them even more, causing them to cry even harder.
3. Burp frequently during feeds but not too much
Wind is a tricky thing with newborns. Dare I say one of the hardest aspects about settling newborns.
Gas in babies can be attributed to numerous reasons. For instance, if baby drinks too fast, baby will end up gulping milk down which causes gas. This may be caused by mum's overactive letdown or a teat that has too fast of a flow.
If baby drinks too slow from a slow teat, baby may suck in extra air when drinking. For formula-fed babies, stirring or swirling the formula can also minimise gas and pressure build-up.
Overeating can also cause gassiness in baby due to their immature digestive tract.
Burping once during mid-feed and another time at the end of the feed help to get rid of some of the trapped gas. Burping too much may sometimes upset them. Told you it's tricky!
4. Monitor awake time
Get to know your baby and work out how to recognise tired signs. This can be so confusing with newborns because sometimes we have no idea what they want!
Limit their awake time. Generally as a rule of thumb, newborns should have awake time of around 2 hours (including feeding, burping and changing nappies). Allow time to wind down and for them to go to sleep after.
If you have an older baby, adjust their awake time to what's appropriate for their age group. I made the mistake of not adjusting my babies' awake time to their age-appropriate times, and this contributed to my baby's extra-fussiness in the late evening.
5. Invest in a baby hammock
I have heard so many incredible stories about what a baby hammock can do to calm a fussy baby. But also this may increase the risk of SIDS because babies should always sleep on a flat, smooth surface. If you decide to try one, only use a baby hammock as a short-term arrangement and always supervise and regularly check that your child is still on their back.
Ultimately, I think people listen too much to what others have to say about motherhood, everyone's an expert. Do what works for you and I hope it all works out!
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