7 ways to recreate the womb (and soothe baby to sleep)

Follow these strategies to ease your munchkin into a scary new world ― and settle them to sleep effortlessly!

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The first three months of your newborn’s life can be tough on you and bubba. Not only are you are still recovering from childbirth and adapting to your newest family member’s needs, the change also comes as a rude shock to your little one.

Bubba is suddenly thrust from the dark, warm and comfy conditions of your uterus into a bright new environment filled with unfamiliar faces, noise and varying temperatures. In fact, some mums even refer to these three trying months of adjustments as the “fourth trimester”.

You have a say in how quickly your kewpie adjusts to life outside the womb. So, help your mini-me make a smooth transition to life outside that warm and snug place by recreating certain conditions they enjoyed in the womb. Here’s how…

1) Make sure the nursery is dimly lit

WHY? When your munchkin was still bobbing about in your womb, the layers of body tissue obscured the light from the surrounding environment. So, help your mite sleep in as little light as possible.

HOW TO When you are tucking bubs in for a daytime nap, make sure to draw the curtains, so that as little daylight streams into the room as possible. If you need to feed bubba in the middle of the night, use a nightlight or bedside lamp ― try not to switch on the room lights.

Swaddling also helps them sleep better as it’ll minimise their startle reflex, which may shock and rouse them from their slumber.

2) Swaddle your kewpie

WHY? For nine months of their life, your baby has been used to the small confines of your womb, so swaddling them mimics that snug womb-like feeling. It’ll reconstructs the warmth, comfort, and protection they enjoyed through those nine months. Swaddling also helps them sleep better as it’ll minimise their startle reflex, which may shock and rouse them from their slumber.

HOW TO Place the swaddle on a flat surface in a diamond shape then fold down a small portion of the top corner. Place your baby lying down, with their head on the folded edge. Take the right corner of the muslin and wrap across your baby, over their right arm, tucking it under their left side — their left arm should still be free. Then, take the bottom corner, bring it upwards and tuck it under their left shoulder. Finally, take the left corner across your baby’s body and tuck it under their right side. If you can’t seem to make that work, don’t worry as you can buy a “ready-made” swaddle, instead. Our guide tells you which to get.

3) Play some white noise

WHY? The womb is actually quite a noisy place. Throughout the day, your foetus is listening to your heartbeat and even the odd growling noise from your stomach when it’s around mealtime. So, hearing rhythmic and repetitive sounds — also known as white noise — playing in the background helps to lull them to sleep. These can range from static noises from a television or radio set, crickets, raindrops, sea waves and jungle soundscapes.

HOW TO You can purchase and download various white noise apps on your smartphone. Otherwise, look out for cot mobiles featuring white noise.

 

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4) Wear your baby

WHY? Just like swaddling, wearing bubba, so that you keep them close to you mimics that snug feeling of the womb. This also frees your arms, so that you can complete some house chores while your munchkin naps.

HOW TO Many affordable baby carriers, slings and wraps on the market will suit your baby’s size and your needs. The different types include:

* Ring sling These can be adjusted easily.

* Baby wraps While it may appear intimidating, once you’ve perfected its use, you can actually use one of these until when your baby is 2 to 3 years old.

* Baby carriers Structured carriers are best for toddlers but make sure to use them correctly, so as not to hurt your back.

To ensure you’re “wearing” your mini-me correctly, check out our how-to guide for the ring sling, baby wrap and toddler carriers.

The act of sucking on something actually calms them down…reduces bubba’s blood pressure, heart rate and stimulates the release of pain-relieving chemicals in their brain.

5) Give them something to suck on

WHY? Even when your child isn’t nursing, the act of sucking on something actually calms them down. It reduces bubba’s blood pressure, heart rate and stimulates the release of pain-relieving chemicals in their brain. In fact, babies are known to suck on their thumb even while in utero to self-soothe.

HOW TO Use a pacifier but if you don’t want your child using it as a crutch, offer them your nipple to suck on instead. Just be mindful of good hygiene!

6) Try co-sleeping

WHY? Also referred to as a family-bed or bed-sharing, this means that you will be sharing the same bed/room as your little one. It is a controversial sleeping arrangement because if you’re not careful, you/your pillows and bolsters may roll onto your sleeping baby, which may suffocate them accidently. Supporters argue that co-sleeping reduces anxiety for both mother and baby, since your child feels a sense of security because you’re present. Sleeping in close contact with your child also enhances the levels of oxytocin —commonly known as the “love” hormone — in you and your baby. This hormone reduces feelings of anxiety, fear and stress and increases your body’s ability to produce breastmilk.

HOW TO You can adopt the cuddle-curl position and use your body to create a protected space around your baby. Bring your knees up and tuck your arms under your head or pillow and curl your body around your baby.

7) Bounce or rock your baby gently

WHY? Your baby is used to being rocked, jiggled and swished around when you went about your daily activities. So, rocking them gently in your arms or bouncing up and down on your feet with your kewpie in your arms will recreate those familiar movements for them.

HOW TO Just make sure that you’re not only holding your baby correctly but also supporting their neck adequately using these methods:

* The C-hold Support your baby under their neck with one hand, with the other hand under their buttocks.
* The cradle hold Place the baby's head and neck in the crook of your arm and use the other hand to cup his tush.

* The upright hold Support your baby’s bum, then hoist them gently over your shoulder.

Once you’ve know how to hold them securely, start moving your body in an up-and-down motion, so that you’re gently bouncing on the spot. You may also try to rock them gently in a back and forth manner if you’re using the C- or cradle hold to support your munchkin.

Photos: iStock

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