Thursday, March 8, 2007

Daddy Magic: Pat Your Baby to Sleep

I've mentioned this before, but I use this almost exclusively in the current stage of my baby's growth. So I want to go in depth on this topic:

Pat your baby to sleep!

This is an excellent alternative to swaying and tightly holding your baby.

With one hand, hold your baby's pacifier and pump it gently. Get him to suck on it. I would also use a "Shh" sound or run a noisy fan. This also works much better if your child is in a tight swaddle (see other posts on swaddling your baby).

With one hand you are stabilizing and pumping the pacifier (you can stop pumping as your baby takes over and sucks on it).

With your other hand pat your baby on his stomach/chest. It is best in the middle of his stomach/chest (about the rib cage) but this depends on the size of your hand and baby.

Pat the baby sternly. Don't pat him gently, but if he's making noise or your pat is making noise, then you're probably doing it too hard. =^)

Pat the baby very quickly, depending on how quickly your baby is breathing. At least match the speed of your baby's breath, but you should probably pat faster than that.

Do this for 30 seconds. Count them in your head. Then slow down your pace a little. Your baby's breathing should slow down and match your pace. If his breath doesn't slow down to match it. Go back to the original speed and try again. Honestly, you should persevere through this and keep trying until it works. The reason is because you're training your baby to respond to this type of soothing. He will learn, and it will get easier. Persevere!

So, you slowed down your pace. He will slow down his breathing to match it. Count another 30 seconds. Then slow down your pace again. Count another 30 seconds. Your pace should be much slower. He must match this pace. If he doesn't go back to your second pace. Try again until he slows down with you.

After he successfully slows down to the third pace, stop. You may want to have a fourth pace, but I only use three (if you use too many stages this will take too long, which is against the point of this technique). If he is still breathing quickly and heavily, continue patting him, find his pace, and start there. Try again until he is breathing calmly.

Once he is breathing calmly and sucking on the pacifier, leave. He'll fall asleep. You are only calming him down so that he can put himself to sleep. You are not putting him to sleep. You are teaching him how to do that himself.

Here's why you should do this technique:

(1) It's faster. Like 5 times faster than rocking or bouncing him to sleep.

(2) It's quieter. If you begin pumping his pacifier and patting him speedily, he will be quiet as you vigorously pat him and pump his pacifier. You are in control.

(3) You are teaching him to put himself to sleep. You are teaching him to let you sleep through the night. You are enabling him to do the work for you! He will learn to fall asleep without you, as long as he is calm. If you rock him to sleep, you are teaching him to cry until you come rock him to sleep.

This also works with toddlers, but if you teach your baby this discipline, you won't need to teach him when he is a toddler.

The point is to gradually ween your baby off of the patting and thus, stop (do it less and less). You teach your baby how to sleep through... Baby Steps!!!

This method needs to be used sparingly and in conjunction with the "tough love" method of letting your child cry through the night (see specifics on that in another article).

Pure Daddy Magic!



melodet said...

i've been doing this for awhile but now i realized that my daughter won't sleep without patting her on the back and the bottom. i'm now working on how to put her to sleep without patting her.

Anonymous said...

Yeah unfortuantely all you've done is taught the baby that he needs the soother pump, hand on, voice, swaddle, and hand patting! This is NOT teaching baby to sleep indepedently! It is teaching baby to think that he "has to have" these things in order to sleep. Do him a favour and teach him how to do it on his own..................

The Animation Empire said...

Anonymous, learn how to read!

This is teaching your baby how to sleep independently! It is to be used for infants, especially ones with colic.

The point is to gradually ween your baby off of the patting and thus, stop. You teach your baby how to sleep: Baby Steps!!!

As far as the tough love method of letting your child cry through the night and learn how to sleep that way, I agree. That's the preferred method and one this site also touches on.


Anonymous said...

I think you should enjoy your baby and give them what they need. They don't cry to be annoying like an older child might, they cry because they need something. When their cries are left unanswered they begin to develop mistrust. This can be crippling later on in life. I say cuddle them while you can, they are little for such a short time.

Anonymous said...

Babies cry at all ages for attention not just to be annoying