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Is it ok to rock your baby to sleep? / FAQs / Pregnancy information from midwivesonline.com

Is it ok to rock your baby to sleep?

If this is acceptable to you then it really isn’t a problem. Don’t think you are spoiling your baby if he needs cuddles and enjoys being carried round with you. Human babies are designed to be carried. An American study observed that the young of animals fell into two categories - cache or carry. Either they were meant to be left for long periods in the nest while their parents hunted for food (cache) or they were meant to be carried by parents all the time while the parents were hunting (carry).

The authors concluded that human babies fell into the carry category. They based their conclusion on the fact that human breast milk, with its low protein content, indicates that babies should be fed frequently - every two to three hours and that a human baby has reflexes which represent clinging and attachment to the mother.

But remember, babies are creatures of habit. Whatever your baby is used to when he falls asleep, he will probably also need to go back to sleep when he wakes at night. So avoid rocking him, walking him up and down or taking him for a drive in the car unless you’re happy to repeat these things in the early hours of the morning! If sleep problems begin to dominate your life try to introduce a routine to teach your baby how to go to sleep. All sleep solutions rely on being consistent, and being sure that your baby can cope on his own. Before you start a routine make sure that both you and your partner agree it is the right thing to do and will support each other during the first few difficult nights. Whichever routine you choose, do the same at bedtime and during the night.

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