When you’re getting ready to have a baby, a good rocking chair or glider is among the most important purchases you can make. Trust us on this one, you’re going to spending a lot of hours with your backside planted in that rocking chair, rocking the night away as you try to help your little bundle of joy drift off to sleep.
Babies enjoy being rocked. The gentle back and forth motion is soothing to them, and parents have sworn by rocking chairs from as far back as anyone can remember. Not only is it soothing to baby, but in most cases, parents enjoy rocking as well. For some babies, it seems to be the only way to get them to sleep.
Babies who have trouble sleeping at night in particular often respond well to being rocked to sleep. The trick is to make sure that you keep the room darkened or only dimly lit, and don’t allow too much stimulation for the baby other than the gentle rocking. Eventually, the repetitive back and forth motion will cause her little eyelids to get heavy, and she will nod off. It happens just about every time, sooner or later.
You’ll want to make sure that your rocking chair is comfortable, because you’re likely to be spending a lot of time there helping your baby get to sleep. What exactly constitutes comfortable is largely a matter of personal taste, though most people prefer a chair with a nice, thick cushion. Alternately, if your rocking chair doesn’t have a cushion, you might consider setting pillow on top of it to sit on.
No one knows for certain why rocking helps babies sleep, but there’s no doubt that it does. If you think about it, most of us as adults fall asleep easier when we have that kind of motion, too, though it’s somewhat harder to get anyone to rock us to sleep. Still, if you’ve ever caught yourself falling asleep on a bus or in the passenger seat of a car, it’s pretty much the same concept. Some experts theorize that rocking and motion in general is soothing for babies because it reminds them of the womb, where they were constantly being jostled about.
We’ll probably never know for sure why rocking helps babies fall asleep, but it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that it does help them fall asleep.