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Unusual Ways to Get Babies to Sleep

When your baby’s bedtime routine isn’t working — that is, when they’re keeping up the neighborhood, or at least mom, dad, siblings and the family pet — it can help to have a backup plan. You aren’t the first parent who’s had to go beyond normal means to send the baby off to sleep. Over the years, heavy-lidded parents have tried pretty much everything, including some pretty bizarre tactics. Oddly enough, some of the strangest ones have actually worked. Luckily, you get to benefit from their experimentation because some of these unusual ways might just work for you, too.

Take The Baby For A Drive

Riding in a car can have a sleep-inducing effect on adults and kids, so why not babies? In a pinch, you can try strapping your baby into their car seat and going for a cruise on some silent backstreets. When they’re snoozing soundly, try creeping back into the driveway and staying quiet as a mouse as you unstrap them, bring them inside and set them down in their crib. You wouldn’t be the first to give this a go.

Put The Baby on the Dryer

Believe it or not, plenty of parents have seen success with this one. Start by getting your baby snuggled into its car seat or baby basket. It may be best to put the dryer on a low setting. And if it seems necessary to dampen the sound or the vibration, you can try placing some towels on top of the dryer before setting the baby down.

And pull up a chair: Being sure to keep an eye on the baby to make sure the vibrations aren’t shaking the baby seat toward the dryer’s edge. You may want to consider placing a yoga mat or other padding that has plenty of friction to keep the baby seat in place. Here’s a pro-tip many parents wish they knew first: Make sure to stop or reset the dryer before it buzzes!

Add Some White Noise

This may be one of the reasons the above tricks have worked: a bit of *white noise sometimes lulls babies to sleep. You might want to try a gently running faucet, or clothes dryer. And if those don’t seem to do the trick, you can experiment with babbling brooks, bellowing whales or other selections of sleep induction music found online. 

Do Some Squats

Babies occasionally like up-and-down movement, as when a parent is doing gentle squats with them in their arms or in a chest baby carrier. (As if parents aren’t working hard enough already!) Bonus: You can spend more time with your baby when your workouts take place right at home (no loud music though, that’s for the gym).

Give Them Extra Pacifiers

Sometimes all it takes is a few extra pacifiers. Sure, they’ve got one in their mouth, but try putting one in each hand, and maybe one or two extra in their crib. It’s worked in the past, and if it gets them to conk out, who knows, it could become your secret sleep weapon.

Dance The Night Away

Well, not exactly. But you can try putting on some soft music and swaying gently with your baby. As long as you’re not breakdancing, this method can give your baby the gentle movement, which might be just what they need to get snoozing.

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Chase Scheinbaum
Chase Scheinbaum

Chase Scheinbaum is a journalist and uncle four times over who's written for Businessweek, Village Voice, AJ+, Men's Journal, Fatherly and other publications.

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