Listen to your baby cry like you are listening to a language you are learning. You may not understand the whole conversation, but pick out the words you know. Is their cry loud and urgent? Are there tears? Does he or she sound sad? Any of these cries, pick them up and settle him or her for no longer than ten seconds. Or is their cry more like a call? Is he/she sounding frustrated? Are they rubbing their eyes, pulling at their hair, kicking their legs around?
If your baby is doing any or all of these things, it is frustration at not being asleep and they don’t need to be picked up. In this instance, just patting your baby is enough to reassure them and help them settle. He or she should settle within a few minutes. Your baby may still be making noise, but stopping every few seconds for a second or so, changing the cry to a softer complaining noise. This usually indicates that they are almost asleep and should settle into quietness within the next few minutes or so. Listen for the change in your baby’s breathing. It should be even and deep, and you should feel a change in their body. It will go from feeling a bit rigid, to soft and relaxed. You will definitely feel this when it happens. It is a very obvious physical cue that the body does. You should then be able to stop the patting motion. Leave your hand hovering slightly over her for a few seconds, then if they don’t stir, go ahead and leave the room.
By Genevieve Ramirez – Nutritionist, Sleep Trainer & Infant Specialist