When Lullabies Aren’t Enough

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The struggle to coax an infant to sleep can cause parents to trade singing lullabies for the blues. For baby’s health—and your sanity—consider the insights behind these out-of-the-box bedtime tricks.

Infants should sleep between 14 and 17 hours each day. Bellyaches, loud noises and even bad moods can make it difficult for babes to transition from feeling tired and fussy to sleeping like an angel. Try these parent-approved tricks to get little ones to drift off without a fight:

  • Placing lavender-scented items in baby’s room to induce sleep with a soothing environment.
  • Playing Tibetan Singing Bowl music has been touted—but is unproven—as a cue for calming children’s central nervous systems.
  • Rubbing in moisturizer after a bath can act like a calming massage on little muscles.
  • Replacing shushing with white noise from a machine is a popular tool for soothing little tykes.

A Word of Caution

While eager parents may be willing to try anything to get a child to sleep, it’s best to proceed carefully. Each trick should come with a warning. Few studies claim to have a conclusive word on whether scents can soothe children to sleep and the same goes for music that adults find calming. It’s possible that mom and dad are the ones who can chill out a little more easily by using these tricks.

Baby massages should be gentle and avoid tickling, and healthcare providers can offer instruction about safely soothing your infant in this manner. Similarly, white noise machines must be used properly—sound machines too close to little ears can cause hearing damage.

Your child’s pediatrician can offer advice based on experience and medical science—a great foundation for healthy sleep habits! Physicians recognize that new parents look to them for advice and are happy to discuss any topic related to your child’s health. Don’t be afraid to ask.

3 Steps to a Better Baby Massage

  1. Set the mood. If you want your child to relax, turn off the noisy television and turn on some quiet music.
  2. Rub, don't press. Gently rub your baby’s muscles, not digging deeply but simply moving them around.
  3. Check for a response. If your baby seems to like what you're doing, keep going! If your baby is fussy, it's OK. Most things take a couple tries before they catch on.

Did You Know?

> Many white noise machines can produce sounds louder than is recommended for adult workplaces.


> German physicians have prescribed tea made from lavender flowers as a treatment for insomnia.


> Infant massages may assist in the physical development of babies born prematurely.


McKenzie-Willamette Birthing Center offers a variety of services for expecting parents and postpartum support. Call (541) 741-4649 for more information or visit McKWeb.com.

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