I thought I'd share some of my favorite tips for keeping baby happy and getting good sleep in the early months, and invite others to share theirs!
My husband and I loved the DVD "The Happiest Baby on the Block", and I always buy it for pregnant friends. He gives "5 S's" for how to sooth a crying baby, most of which mimic the environment of the womb, to send fussy baby into instant, womb-like bliss state. It's totally worth renting, buying...libraries often have it! UPDATE: scroll down, Choco Mom has linked to this DVD, you can watch it on YouTube!!
The three S's that we used the most were:
- Swinging: movements that get the head to jiggle will lull them. Nothing beats the foot-activated bouncy seat!! Best soother ever, and she'd lull right to sleep and took most of her naps in it!
- Swaddling!! We loved the velcro-closed swaddles (like SwaddleMe) that bind the arms, and let you change the diaper without unswaddling. My girl would often sleep through night time diaper changes with this, and as Dr. Karp said in the DVD, she'd generally sleep an additional 2 hours when swaddled!
- Shhhh-ing: anything that reproduces a loud, womb-mimicking sound, whether verbal or electronic. We would loudly "Shhh" in her ear to sooth her when awake, and found an ambient sound noise maker to be a great investment for bed-time.
(The other 2 S's, for those curious:
- Side position: This is a trick he demonstrates in the video. It does work, but it's far easier to see than to describe here. You hold them on their side, leaning very slightly forward.
- Sucking: giving a finger or pacifier to suck on, to sooth.)
The last tip I want to share, which I got from other moms, is to avoid eating gassy foods (onions, broccoli, beans, cabbage...) early on, because they give the baby gas pains, which can be the cause of crying and fussing (hours after you've eaten and nursed). I did find the above methods very effective in getting my girl out of such fussiness, but she slept so much better at night when I avoided the gassy foods, that it was worth the effort. I was getting 4 hour stretches of sleep in the first month, between the swaddling and the gas-avoiding tips!
How about you all... Any favorite tips for baby care? For good sleep in the early weeks?
Edited by Sunshine_Amy - 1/24/13 at 5:40am