You know what I mean: I’m talking about how to find that miracle method of putting your baby or toddler to sleep — or at least getting him to calm the f*ck down — when he seems to be irreversibly upset. Because we’ve all been there and, damn, babies can be stubborn.
Scratch that, they can be total a*sholes. Self-involved drama queens with no concept of how to talk themselves off the ledge. They want what they want, when they want it, and they don’t really care how it affects you in the process (mainly by inducing gray hair, heart palpitations, and the urge to drink). But us mamas can be a tough b*tch, too. I’ve been through the sleepless nights, the footpath meltdowns, and had the chutzpah to serve my son the wrong type of cracker. I’m obviously no expert (and never will be), but I have learned a thing or two from my own experiences. I’ve begged friends (and strangers) for their advice, too.
Just as a quick asterisk, though, what works for our kids may not work for yours. That being said, when it’s three in the morning and you’re wishing you could put down that screaming toddler just long enough to pee and grab your phone if that’s how the night is going to go down, I have a feeling you will try at least one thing on this list and if it works it really will feel like magic:
1. Pat his back. Gently patting and rubbing my daughter’s back has always worked like a charm. A good friend of mine demonstrated (painfully) that she legitimately whacks her son’s back to get him to sleep, but it works.
2. Caress her neck. With the side of my palm, I found that if I rub the crook of my son’s neck gently back and forth, he calms right down in his cot and basically falls asleep within seconds.
3. Put on some white noise. Loud, abstract noise is said to emulate the whir of being in the womb, and mums seriously swear by it. Alternate option: Run the vacuum.
4. Bounce him gently. Babies love to bounce. If you have an exercise ball, that’s the easiest route, but I’ve also had major success doing deep lunges and squats. Yes, my thighs were trembling after about five minutes, but my baby was out cold.
5. Say ohm. A little chanting never hurt when trying to soothe a fussy baby. The deep chest vibration sound of ohm (think yoga class) should calm your baby down — or calm you down, anyway!
6. Swaddle her. If they’re young enough to be wrapped up, burrito-style, most babies are very receptive to being swaddled and held nice ‘n tight.
7. Rub his ears. Using your thumb and forefinger to gently massage your baby’s earlobe is a great technique. I’ve seen my daughter go from cranky to comatose in less than a minute.
8. Sing to her. Every child has a different favourite. My niece loves “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” whereas “Whiskey In The Jar” by Thin Lizzy will almost always conk my son out instantly.
9. Massage his feet. And don’t forget the essential oils! Lavender is a nice, soothing option.
10. Feed her a snack. Sometimes the way to a child’s sleep-g-spot is through his stomach. Sounds weird, but a little nibble — just a breadstick or a slice of cheese — can settle your child and send him to sleep.
11. Nurse him. If you’re still breastfeeding, most likely you can skip all this other bullsh*t and just pull your top down.
Do you have another surefire way to get your child to sleep (or at least to calm down)? Leave a note in the comments for grateful mamas everywhere.
More bedtime buzz:
- How I Got My Baby to Sleep Through the Night at 6-Weeks-Old
- 24 Ways Kids Avoid Sleep (& Drive You Absolutely Crazy)
- 7 Things I Learned While Sleep Training My Baby