A first-time mum or not, we can all relate to the dreaded nap time when you put your baby down to sleep hoping to get some me time to take a rest.
No sooner as you gently tiptoe out of her room, than her cry signals you are not off the hook yet.
And the cycle goes on and on.
So why won’t your baby let you put her down and what are some of the tips to help you put her to sleep for longer.
Let’s find out.
Baby Won’t Let Me Put Her Down: 3 Main Reasons
1. Sense of separation
Babies are biologically wired with separation instincts. They do not understand that they are separate beings from their mothers/caregivers. As such they are used to their mother’s heartbeats, gentle touch, warm body, and the smell of breastmilk just to mention a few.
Therefore, whenever you put her to sleep, she is more likely to sense separation. What follows is the feeling of being in danger at the same time feeling helpless. Ultimately, she cries her heart out to be held again to feel safe and protected.
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2. Baby’s sleep cycle
The baby’s sleep cycle is different from that of adults. Generally, a baby takes up to 20 minutes to get to deep sleep. The trick is to hold her a bit longer before putting her down to sleep.
While some parents report that this has worked for them, for others it is quite the opposite.
3. Adjusting to the new environment
Remember while in the womb, your baby was living in a perfect world: no hunger, cold or fear. But now being in the world means adjusting to the new environment for survival.
Suddenly she feels hungry, the urge to pee, poo, pass gas, burp, living as a separate entity, and basically learning the new environment.
What’s more, having used to sleeping in/near a warm body, putting her down to sleep alone won’t go down with her well.
Hacking Tips to Help You Put Baby to Sleep for Longer
1. Swaddle her well before sleeping
Snuggle your baby perfectly in a receiving blanket and sing some lullabies as you rock her to sleep.
Swaddling your baby offers her a sense of safety and warmth just like the way you will hold her in your arms. It also prevents your little one from startling while sleeping.
What’s more, it is also soothing thus, she is likely to have a great nap time for longer.
2. Signs of Fatigue
Watch out for any signs of fatigue from your baby and immediately put her down to sleep.
Some parents/ caregivers assume that when the baby is too tired, she will deeply fall asleep for longer. Thus, they tend to encourage extended playtime.
However, that is far from the truth. Children suffering from fatigue find it harder to fall and stay asleep.
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3. Use a sling or baby carrier
You can get a high-quality sling or baby carrier. This will help you reach a compromise between keeping your baby safe and being hands-free. That way, you create ample time to attend to some of the house chores.
4. Try a bassinet
If your little munchkin is sleeping on a crib, you can get her a bassinet. Bassinets are cozy compared to baby cribs, allowing your baby to enjoy a good nap in there.
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However, remember that bassinets are most suitable for newborn babies.
5. Keep the room warm
Newborn babies were used to warm environment in their ‘perfect’ world in the womb. Therefore, to help them adjust to the new world and prevent her from startling, you got to keep her room and beddings warm.
If it is a cold room especially during the winter season, ensure to preheat the baby’s room a few minutes before putting her down to sleep.
6. Seek assistance from family and friends
Sometimes, you need a few hours off to run errands, rest or just take a walk to clear up your mind.
It is okay to seek assistance from family and even your friends to babysit your little person. No one would resist spending some time with a little baby (they are so adorable).
They can even take turns to allow you to have more ‘me time.
You can also arrange with a post-natal doula to have her babysit the baby for a few hours occasionally.