By Matt Dyson co-founder at Rockit
The rhythmic motion of the pram trundling over paving stones is a proven method of getting a tired baby to sleep. For some babies they fall into a deeper sleep rapidly, allowing you to stop wheeling and they will stay asleep. This was my experience with my son, he would be fast asleep as soon as we left the house. I could then go shopping or even grab a coffee with him contently snoozing next to me.
Every baby is different of course, but it was still a shock when my daughter came along and she fought sleeping in the day at every opportunity! She would be exhausted and grumpy and it would take half an hour of traipsing the streets to get her to sleep. Worse than that, if I had to stop for a moment, even to cross the road, she would wake instantly and that would be that. It was the same in the car, I used to dread stopping at lights!
So why do some babies sleep better when the pram is moving? One theory is that babies who are rocked to sleep in their parents’ arms associate the rhythmic motion with sleep time. I don’t think this was the case with my children as we never rocked them at night time so that association wasn’t there. Some sleep experts suggest that the motion reminds the baby of being in the womb and feeling the movement of mum moving about during the day. Either way the motion works and babies tend to drift off and remain asleep longer if the pram is moving.
This was the inspiration when we invented the Rockit Rocker, which attaches any pram or stroller and gently rocks it. The Rockit mimics the motion of the pram trundling along and helps you extend naps even when you stop walking. It will also help your little one to drift off without traipsing around the block in the wind and rain.
Tips on how to get a baby to sleep more quickly in the pram
As with my daughter, some babies still seem to fight the sleep and resist drifting off for as long as is humanly possible.
Here are some tips from my own experience and from friends on how to get them asleep more quickly in the pram.
- Keep moving for at least 10 minutes without stopping. This may involve planning a route that doesn’t involve stopping to cross a busy road. After this period your baby should be in a deeper sleep.
- Wheeling over rougher ground or uneven paving stones creates the soothing rocking motion that calms the baby.
- Make sure your little one is warm enough in colder weather and cool enough in warm weather. This seems obvious I know, because even as adults we find it harder to fall asleep if we’re either too hot or freezing cold in bed.
- Linked to the point above, younger babies might prefer to be swaddled in the pram. The snug feeling of being wrapped could help them to relax and fall asleep more quickly.
- Keep the hood or sun shade up. This has 2 purposes, firstly it reduces visual stimuli that will intrigue your little one and keep them awake. The second reason is that moving between bright sunshine and shadows can disturb their sleep particularly if they are just drifting off.
Hopefully these tips are helpful.