How to Adjust Your Calming Routine

In the newborn stage, babies need adults to provide that sensory input {aka recreating the motion they became accustomed to in the womb}.

If you have been unsuccessful at calming your newborn, change up your approach. Test out different speeds of swinging, having baby’s head tucked in close or sitting out a little on your elbow to feel the motion more, barely patting or giving a full pat while swinging, shushing softly or really loudly. Turn up your intensity and make notes on how your baby responds.

Are you still not seeing the cues that mean your calming routine is working?

Could baby’s diaper be wet?

Does your baby need to suck for calming?  Offer finger or pacifier to the routine.

Is your baby overtired?

When infants are overtired, hormones are released that make it harder to calm their systems for sleep.  In the real world, you are going to miss a wake time windows some times.. so don’t stress.

In my practice, I empower parents to learn from these experiences and note how their child is different when they are overtired.  Know what to expect and have a plan for those times when baby gets overstimulated.

If your baby is overtired, and you are testing the swinging, shushing, patting, sucking, cradling method then I recommend turning up the intensity even more for several minutes to see if this method helps your overtired baby relax and prepare for sleep.  Swing faster than you would if your baby was not overtired.

You will know your baby is calming when see their eyes get heavy and you also might feel a deep body sigh.

Congrats!  It’s working.  Take notes…awake time, technique, etc. so that you can repeat this successful non-feeding calming routine again.

Is your baby is continuing to fight the calming routine?
  • For babies birth to 3 months this typically means they need more intense sensory input to get past the over stimulation.
  • For older infants 4-7 months fighting and squirming usually means “I am overstimulated. I can’t take any more sensory input. Please put me down in the crib for me to try to calm myself or take me out for a reset.”  In other words, the patting, shushing, swinging, etc. is causing their system to be in overload.  Removing all stimulus and allowing them to lay in their crib to try to calm or on a mat on the floor in the living room without any visual stimulation usually helps them calm down in a few minutes.

Make notes of what works and doesn’t work for YOUR overtired baby.

Have you tried these tips and found they did not work?  Then you may benefit from more specific recommendations based on your baby’s unique needs.  Schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation to see if Sleep Happy services is a good fit for your needs by the services page.

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