Does your baby happily fall asleep in your arms, only to wake and cry the SECOND you lay them in their crib/bassinet? Have you ever Googled, "Why does my baby wake when I put them down?" or "Why won't my baby sleep in a crib?" or "How to get my baby to sleep in a crib?" or "Baby will only sleep on me?"
Well I have a solution for you: baby “back training”!
When you Google the term “back training” you are met with an assortment of exercise techniques and equipment… but I promise this is nothing of the sort. When it comes to babies, “back training” is the term used to get babies happy and accustomed to being on their backs. Why is this necessary, you ask? Well, babies must sleep on their backs until they can consistently roll from belly to back - which often takes until they are about 6 months old! So in the meantime, as you wait (sometimes patiently, sometimes impatiently!) for your little one to mature to belly-sleeping age, help them get used to the “back” life! This is super helpful for babies who seem to wake and cry every time you lay them down to sleep!
During your baby’s wake window, after they have been fed and changed and should otherwise be content, give them plenty of time to play laying on their back! Of course you should incorporate tummy time during each wake window too, but many babies, especially newborns, barely last a few minutes in this position before getting frustrated. On their back though, babies can learn to last much longer! Have some fun black & white visual newborn cards for them to look at, a baby mirror to coo at themselves, or even better, dangly toys! Sing to them, tickle them, read to them, all while they are on their back. If they cry, pick them up! Show them that back time is all fun and games (literally!) and that if they get scared or sad or lonely or hungry, you’ll pick them up! By practicing this back training method consistently, babies will be able to last longer portions of time happily hanging on their backs. This means that when you lay them down to sleep, they won’t freak! If they associate back time with happy time (because again, if they cry, pick them up!), they will learn to be happy sleeping that way as well! Some babies will even just fall asleep right then and there during back training time. That’s how you know you really made it! :)
Reminder- for babies who don’t yet show signs of rolling, swaddle them before putting them down to sleep. This helps them feel snug and secure, and stops their moro reflex (also known as the "startle reflex") from waking them up. You can (and should!) even practice “back time” while they are swaddled, so they learn this is a happy, safe position to be in. With consistent practice, you should have a happy back sleeper in no time!
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Wishing you all the best
& lots of rest,