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Why Does Rocking Help a Baby to Sleep & Is It Okay?

Do you rock your baby to sleep? It’s one of the most instinctive things we do as parents, yet not without controversy. We explain the pros and cons of it, plus how it works. Take a read now!

As mothers, it’s instinctive for us to cuddle and rock our baby to sleep. This is especially true for newborns when they are so tiny and cute! However, there’s a school of thought that rocking a baby to sleep isn’t a wise move, even though it works (most of the time). Today we’re going to chat about the reasons why rocking works and explains the pros and cons of doing so.

Rocking Your Baby to Sleep: Good Idea Or Not?

Parents have been rocking their babies to sleep for generations and for one good reason: it works! A newborn has rocked around in the womb for nine months, so it makes sense that a rocking motion is something a baby would find soothing and enjoyable.Japanese scientists have found that a baby’s heart rate lowers when they are held and carried around by their mother, but not when simply held. It’s the movement the baby enjoys and one which puts a baby to sleep!

Many newborns spend their first few days and weeks being rocked to sleep in someone’s arms or a bassinet, which is perfectly fine. This becomes a problem though when it’s time to start sleeping in their crib, or the baby starts to get too heavy to carry and rock consistently.

Having made the association between rocking and sleep, a baby doesn’t have any other methods of self-settling to use. This results in plenty of crying babies and tired families.

Rocking a baby to sleep is not all bad news though. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons next.

Pictured the Rockit machine rocking a baby in pram

Pros & Cons of Rocking a Baby to Sleep

Rocking is one of the sleep associations a baby can learn from a very young age. As adults, we also have sleep associations, such as a darkened room, a warm bed and wearing out pyjamas. Sleep associations are a great thing, and that’s why we’re not anti-baby rocking. However, there are some issues which can occur. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of rocking a baby.

Pros of rocking a baby include:

  • Helps to settle and calm a baby
  • Encourages them to become drowsy
  • Helps provide stimulation to a baby’s sensory area, altering their motor, central and cardiac body functions
  • An easy way for new parents to settle their baby
  • Continue feelings of movement from the womb and be comforted by them

Cons of rocking a baby include:

  • Require rocking to get to sleep and resettle during a nap
  • Older babies are too heavy to rock continually for hours
  • Parents need to get up to rock and resettle their baby
  • Often will wake up once the movement has stopped

A great sleep association to develop is the use of a dummy. We make that even easier for parents with the Sleeptyot.

You won’t need to get out of bed to help your child find their dummy and resettle – they’ll do it for themselves! Take a read of what many happy (and no longer tired) parents have said – and relax knowing you and your baby will love it too!

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