One of the important mini baby milestones is achieved when baby can be comfortable and quiet when put down on the floor or in his crib for baby play or sleep. Often in the first three months when a parent puts the baby down he starts crying. Sometimes the parent says, “He only goes to sleep when I hold him.” This may be true, but if the pattern continues in a few months he will be quite heavy and the parent may develop back problems. Parents can learn that they are not limited to only two choices: 1.) holding baby while he falls asleep, or 2.) putting baby down and then listening to his cries. A third option exists. That option is to learn parenting tips on how to teach baby to be comfortable on the floor or in his crib without being held in mom or dad’s arms. Learning to be comfortable on his own is an important development of a baby and is essential for motor skill development. Baby benefits from learning to be content on the floor where he will take the time to explore how his body moves and ultimately attain a few motor milestones.
PARENTING TIP #1: TRANSITION BABY GRADUALLY
Often baby may be set down on the floor or in the crib rather abruptly. For some babies this may OK, but for some it is not. It feels a bit quick and harsh. These babies really like to be held. They feel they contact of mother’s arms so clearly because the sense of touch is one of the most developed senses at birth. For these babies it helps to set them down slowly and keep your hands in contact with them even though you have put them down. Wait awhile and then remove one hand slowly. Wait again and then slowly remove the other hand.
PARENTING TIP #2: CONNECT WITH YOUR VOICE
Before removing your hands from baby, talk to him. As you remove the contact of your hands establish a clearer connection through your voice. This is using another one of the five senses to establish a sense of security for baby. A newborn clearly feels the security of his parent when he feels through his skin that he is being held. As his senses develop he can also feel secure when he hears his parent talk. Towards the end of his first year he will know his parent is near when he sees her in the room. Speak to him in a reassuring and soothing voice as you tell him “I am here. You are OK. Everything is OK. It is time to sleep/play now.” Try singing a lullabuy to him such as ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” If you sing the same lullabuy regularly the familiarity will feel soothing to him.
PARENTING TIP #3: PRACTICE
Recognize that baby is learning to be comfortable without the presence of your immediate touch. Learning is a process that takes time and repetition. Try these tips for new parents each day and see if there is an expansion in the amount of time that baby can be on his own comfortably in his crib or in floor time. After two weeks notice if you see some improvement. Always consult your doctor if you have a concern.