How to rock a baby to sleep, as demonstrated by an experienced dad


Originally published at:


The happiest time for parents is probably when their kids start to consistently sleep through the night. No kidding.


Although I remember the first time my son slept through the night. At about the 3 hour mark my wife and I kept opening the door slightly to check if he was still breathing…

Of course, he was almost 4, so we had pretty much given up on him ever sleeping through.

In retrospect, the narrative we’ve chosen is teething discomfort. His dentist had warned us when his first teeth came in really late.


You guys seem to think like my wife: What’s the worst possible explanation for an apparently good thing?


With a smooth one about sooooo big. I will see myself out now.


The first time is sheer panic then sheer joy.
“oh wow that was a good sleep”… looks over at clock “oh shit” runs to the crib checks to see if kid is okay in a panic “oh the kid is okay…hey it slept through the night awesome!”


There are a couple of videos suggesting quick and easy ways to get a baby to stop crying. Having never witnessed them personally, they strike me as unreasonably easy.


After we had our son I realized you could instantly spot fathers in any lineup - they were always unconsciously rocking from foot to foot. We also worked with a photographer (a single dad with two young hyper-kinetic boys) who constantly swayed from side to side as if he was a tourettes patient aboard a ship at sea in a huge storm - which is what it probably felt like to him when alone with the boys. I personally found that the very rocking I used to comfort and calm my son would also work for me - I still do it.


Actually I picked this up from working in a high speed production facility. I started to sway in order to reduce fatigue in my knees, and I find that I still do it subconsciously when standing for any length of time.


From my experience it does work…but now you are left bouncing a baby. Assuming you have covered all the reasonable bases, hungry, poop filled diaper, cold, gassy, it works to calm an infant down. But set them down and unless everything else is good, they will be back crying in a few minutes. Our son now experiences gas sometimes and it comes every 5-10 minutes for hours on end. So six times an hour he might start screaming for a minute until it moves along.


And the unfortunate times when you can’t quite believe that the sounds you hear are breathing and not just the wind or traffic outside. And give them a little noodge to be sure… square one.


I still have strong memories of bouncing on a yoga ball to get my baby son to sleep while I finished writing my dissertation. Bounce, bounce, type. Bounce, bounce type. Not an efficient way to finish a degree, but I got there at least.


I’ve got to say, the stiff legs worked best for me, too. Even better is to walk with fairly stiff legs. It means your body rotates a little with every step, and that got my kid calm even faster.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.