Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How do you trick a baby?

For the past month or so, putting LittleTiger to sleep has been one of our biggest challenges. The only way he happily goes to sleep is when he's being rocked in our arms or in our lap. The challenge with that is, once he's asleep you either have to continue sitting in that same position for as long as possible, or you have to transition him from your lap to a place where you can lay him down. NOT EASY!! They may be small, but babies are very smart. They seem to have a sixth sense for recognizing human touch & warmth even in their sleep.

We have experimented with a lot of things; some have worked to a certain degree while others have failed miserably.

Singing calms him down. From dadiji's chanda mama door ke to dadaji's jane wo kaise log the , any song will make him stop squirming (ofcourse, this has to be coupled with constant rocking in your lap). He will listen intently, looking at you with wide eyes. Next, he will decide to join you. Thats right. He will raise his eyebrows, shut his eyes and start making his own singing sounds. That's an indication that he'll be asleep soon. If you can keep up the rocking rhythm and the singing, he will usually sing himself to sleep in the next five minutes or so. Then you must wait for an undefined amount of time to make sure that he's really asleep. Because sometimes when you think he really is, he may pop his eyes open without any warning to check if you are still doing the routine.

Once you are sure that he is in deep slumber (a good check is to lift his arm and see if it drops down without waking him), then you need to start looking for a way to gradually slip him down on the bed/bassinet from your lap. This is where we are clueless. I have tried lifting him from my lap with both hands, still continuing the rocking motion and carefully putting him down on the bed. But the moment you put him down, he will start rubbing his eyes with both hands, lift his legs high up in the air, pout his lower lip and ...its time for us to go back to step one...sighh..if this seems funny, it sure isn't when it happens at 3am. every night.

We have noticed that another place he falls asleep easily is in his car seat. His car seat fits into his stroller, and usually when we take him out for walks in this stroller, he comes back home asleep. Something about the rocking motion of the stroller does the trick.

So last week when we were at our wits' end trying to put LittleTiger to sleep (at 3am on a weeknight), we had to resort to the inevitable. We got his car seat up on our bed and transitioned him from Papa's lap to the car seat. It sounds terrible. But it worked! He slept for three hours straight in the car seat that sat on our bed.

We have been feeling pretty guilty about doing this. When we got to a point where even his afternoon naps started in his car seat, we knew we had to do something about it. Dadiji has been saying from day 1 that the best way to put a baby to sleep is to use a traditional desi cloth swing. She even spent time and energy sewing one swing for LittleTiger. But there is no prop strong enough in our home which can support the weight of the swing with the baby in it. Our heavy iron chairs came closest to it - and we even tried tying the swing to the back of two chairs, but it didn't seem like a very safe choice.

Finally this past weekend we did some research online. There's got to be an American version of the good old desi swing! I was surprised to find that the only swings available are pretty hi-tech and are either battery operated or need to be plugged in. They are made of plastic and have a whole lot of straps to secure the baby. Of course they all come with nice music and a mobile or some toys hanging from an overhead bar. The only thing that came close to what I was looking for was this hammock, but it didn't have good reviews and worked only for babies till 6 months of age. Out of desperation we decided to visit our local BabiesRus and bring home the best choice available.

We ended up selecting this travel swing. It is compact and it had good reviews. On Sunday (Father's day), Papa started his day by quickly putting the swing together. With much anticipation, we introduced it to LittleTiger.

video

hmm...not sure how to interpret that reaction. He seems tentative at best. The only part that caught his attention briefly was the little bee on the toy bar. We're hoping that if he spends some time in the swing every day, he will start liking it and decide to nap in it.

For now, we are out of choices. And he is back in his car seat. sighh...

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