Infant Sleep Tip #6

Happy August to all. Hope your families have been able to enjoy the abundant sunshine and summer action. Life with 3 young ones has proven to be as fabulous – and as full on – as friends had promised. So I apologize for writing so little recently.

Infant Sleep Tip #6: Encourage soothing techniques other than feeding.

When we hear our babies crying, many parents and caregivers instinctively reach for a bottle or the breast. While comfort feedings can be a wonderful bonding time for you and your little one, it’s important to remember that we have lots of options in our soothing toolbox. This can be a game changer for nursing moms, who were feeling like they were walking pacifiers, partners of nursing moms who were feeling inadequate because they didn’t have the “secret weapon,” and all caregivers who were feeling like they were perpetually overfeeding their baby just to keep them from crying. 

So what are our options? Wear your baby, swing, rock, swaddle, sing, shush, offer a pacifier, massage, take a walk outside, repetitive soothing sounds or music, bounce, or let a partner, friend, or grandparent try their luck. Sometimes a change of chemistry or scenery is all it takes.

If you haven’t found a carrier that is comfortable for you yet, make that one of your first goals. Many swear by the k’tan wrap, Ergo (the new Ergo 360 allows for a forward facing hold as well as all the other positions, which is great when your baby is eager to check out the world), the Beko Gemini, or Moby wrap. As some carriers are expensive, try out friends’, buy a slightly used one, or go to a local store where the salespeople have real know-how. If all the options are overwhelming, I strongly recommend The website offers excellent explanations as well as an online form you can fill out for a personalized recommendation from the Sling Lady. They also offer email and phone support and free returns, making it super parent friendly. Laurel was a great support to my family in helping us find carriers that would be comfortable for both my husband (who is 6’2”) and me.

Dr. Harvey Karp in Happiest Baby on the Block offers detailed explanations for the benefits of the 5 S’s – swaddling, side or stomach, shushing, swing, and sucking. Some babies may benefit from all of them done simultaneously, while many babies are comforted by one or two of these techniques.

There is no one size fits all here. Each baby has preferences and naturally those preferences will change over the course of the day, weeks, and months. But mixing it up and trying new techniques can be hugely liberating.