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Just imagine for a second that you are a baby. You are in a nice cosy womb for 9 months and one day it gets a bit too squishy so you decide it’s time to evacuate. Whhhoooaaaa This is very different from I’m used to!
Your normal human instincts of curiosity kick in and you want to explore new things but you still want that comfort of what you are used to. You may recognise your mums voice, but what happens when you are put down to sleep? You’ve been connected to mum for 9 months and now you’re suddenly on your own.
How would you feel? Would you cry?
This is where every baby is different, just like every person. Just think of when you start a new job or go to your first mothers group. Everybody reacts to these situations differently. Some people are comfortable and thrive on the new experience, while others become so anxious they can’t bring themselves to do it. For most it takes an enormous amount of courage to make the first step.
Now put yourself back into your baby’s shoes (or booties) and think of how you would react? Some babies may not even care for the change and embrace the freedom of being out, while others just want to go back into where they came from because everything is so overwhelming.
So, what can you do to help them feel comfortable in their new environment?
You can try and recreate the place where they started their journey, the womb. Imagine the sounds your baby hears in the womb. They grow accustomed to your voice, to the familiar shushing sounds of blood being pumped through your body and the beating of your heart.
They were close to your heart so they would be used to the sound of your heartbeat. They would be accustomed to the shushing sounds of blood being pumped through your arteries.
Those muffled sounds, those familiar sounds providing comfort in the place they called home for nine months.
Ever wondered why shushing your baby works so well? That is a familiar sound they recognised and associate with the womb!
Swaddling is also a great way to comfort and soothe your baby, thus encouraging a better and longer sleep. The snug and secure feel they had inside the womb can be recreated through swaddling. Swaddling helps recreate the restricted space inside the womb, helping to soothe and calm a newborn baby.
So I think you can start to get a picture of why these sleep aids work so well. They essentially help your baby transition from the womb environment, to the world by making familiar sounds to comfort them.
Now unfortunately it is all so simple in theory, and sometimes in practice it can be a little different. Not all babies are comfortable with just the familiar noise. Some know it isn’t the real thing. They are stubborn little creatures that just want what they had before!
For the sleep aids we stock at Eat Teeth Sleep, we find that for 80-90% of babies, you will see some improvement in sleep or settling. For some you will see a lot of change. Whereas for other babies it may only be a slight change, but if a slight change is 15 minutes more sleep than the 4-5 you are currently getting then it is a positive.
Results will always vary from baby to baby so don’t expect when you introduce the sleep aid that it will miraculously send your baby to sleep in 30 seconds. It is new and most babies will take time to get accustomed, especially if they are not introduced straight from birth.
And of course don’t expect the sleep aid to replace you!
A sleep aid is not going to calm a baby with a wet or soiled nappy, wind pain or a baby that just wants a cuddle. They need to be used in conjunction to all other aspects of your routine for optimum success.
If you have any questions or queries, feel free to send Matthew or myself an email or Facebook message. We are just like you, parents of two kids, with both kids that were completely different as babies. Both started us on our journey to find something to help us get more sleep, just that little bit more so we could resemble semi-functioning parents!