Being an urban and modern mom is not easy and we’re not just talking about juggling between your family, work and personal interests. As old problems are solved, new concerns arise. Our fast-paced, endlessly stimulating environment might not be that suitable for someone that’s “fresh out of the womb”, adjusting to the day-night (circadian) rhythm while you are trying to gain back control of your own.
Your baby’s sleep-wake cycle is developing in its first years of life. At birth, it’s not even established and it’s connected with their feeding needs which is why infants sleep in multiple short intervals. The earlier in the developmental stage of any process, the more delicate and vulnerable your baby is. The less disturbed, the better.
Our environments can shape our sleeping patterns. Light, noise, traffic, pollution, green space, density, walkability, temperature and humidity can all limit sleep opportunities, turning all of those short naps even shorter. Even the social neighbourhood environment (social cohesion, safety, and violence) is associated with changes in sleep duration, daytime sleepiness, sleep difficulties and sleep quality.
Consequently, it might take more than a mother’s touch to send a baby off into dreamland. A fuzzy plush toy might eventually be more comforting than your own hand. White or pink noise could tune the baby’s circadian rhythm and replace a mother’s voice. A baby bed vibration system might come in handy as your baby is rebooting and setting up its own day-n-night one.
How much sleep does a baby need exactly? The Department of Health of the Australian Government recommends that babies (infants, from birth to 12 months) get good quality sleep from 14 to 17 hours until 3 months every day and 12 to 16 hours from 4 to 11 months, including naps. So, why not be prepared and make sure your baby always has what it needs in order to get a good night’s (or day’s) sleep? Don’t worry, you haven’t lost your mum superpowers. Every superhero needs a sidekick so here are some possible candidates that can assist you in easing your baby into sleep.
Mimic a Car with a Crib Vibration Attachment
Have you been driving long nights around the block because your baby only sleeps in the car? Did you know that a vibration device for crib can end your sleepless nights? A vibration sleep soother has special motors that create low-frequency car-like vibrations that travel through any type of mattress to soothe your baby. While passing, the vibrations imitate even the rumbles and revving of the engine, which produces calming and soothing sounds.
Proven safe for even the youngest, a vibration device for crib has different vibration speeds and additional modes that simulate car acceleration and deceleration. The long-life battery can put you at ease as it can last throughout the whole night and even more. It can even include a night light that combines calming sounds with a soothing glow.
Comfort with Sleep Dolls
From infants to preschoolers, and probably amongst adults too, a stuffed animal is an all-time favourite. Many of us had that one toy that we didn’t want to get separated from or even get rid of today. Why did we become so fond of them though?
As a close source of safety and comfort, plush toys are personal companions of a child, something, or should we say someone they build social skills with, learn languages, compassion and empathy. After playtime comes bedtime when plush toys turn to baby comforters and work as soothers and sleep companions. Designed to help children self-soothe, relax and calm themselves, there are even dummy comforters that include sounds of real-life breathing and a heartbeat.
Rock Your Stroller Even When You’re on the Move
Dr Nick Webb (PhD in Sound and Vibration Engineering) noticed that his three-month-old daughter Abby would wake up as soon as he stopped pushing the stroller along the pavement. His ingenuity gave birth to an easy strap-on device that can generate the side-to-side motion we experience while we’re riding in a vehicle, or when your baby is tucked in into its pram. Simple to attach and with adjustable speed, it can imitate your continuous rocking with a push of a button, leaving your hands free for that newspaper or book you’ve been dying to read.
Imitate Nature With a Sound Machine
Have you ever wondered why does the sound of water calm you down? Or why do you find the sound of crackling fire so enjoyable? Nature is the logical source of our peace of mind as we are its product and we are continuously intertwined with it. Evolution has wired our brains to categorize these low pitched sounds as safe, keeping our fight-or-flight mechanism quiet.
Today, there are various lightweight, slimline and portable sound machines and sleep CDs. They can make it rain (or at least sound like it) when you need it the most. These sleep therapy devices also include sounds like white, pink, grey and brown noise, crickets, frogs, birds and even womb sound.
Use Scents to Induce Sleep
Humans have been using aromatherapy since ancient times to relax and unwind. Its effectiveness in inducing sleep and reducing anxiety has been explored and exploited the most. A lavender essential oil massage can calm a fussy baby. Combined with chamomile, they’ve been used to treat insomnia and even relieve symptoms of colic.
Although generally safe, babies are gentle beings and much more prone to adverse reactions. Be on the safe side when it comes to your baby and always follow the guidelines and safety recommendations for infant essential oil use. There are some oils that should never be used on infants. Make sure you buy a product that’s appropriate for babies.