Neither of my babies were good sleepers. The frequent night feeds seemed to go on for an age, long after all the other mums I knew were enjoying unbroken nights. I would listen enviously to their proud boasts, whilst stifling yet another yawn. So I remember the first time my daughter slept through the night (officially defined as a 5 hour stretch of nocturnal sleep) with great clarity.
She was almost 10 month’s old and we were staying in a beachside apartment in Crete. One of the many wonderful things about the location was the sound of waves crashing onto the nearby shore. I’m sure the constant, rhythmic thud of surf against sand, followed by the drawn-out drag of water across shingle was as comforting to her as it was relaxing to us. The following morning, believing I’d found the key to my baby sleeping soundly, I was all set to move to Greece permanently. Anything for unbroken nights!
Now the sleep gurus at Sleepytot have released a CD called Baby’s Sea Shore. The 70 minute soundtrack replicates a maternal heartbeat, mixed in with sounds of the sea – a combination that is supposed to mimic the acoustics of the womb. The swoosh of blood through the umbilical cord and various digestive gurgles, along with that constant heartbeat directly above, must have made the uterus a comfortingly noisy place for a baby. It must be
quite a shock then, maybe even frightening, to suddenly find yourself in an eerily quiet bedroom. Some familiar sounds can be amazingly reassuring – which is why babies respond so well to being held close, where they can hear your steady heartbeat. But at night, it may be preferable to find some other source of comfort than your arms.
A favourite CD can also become a useful sleep association tool. If you play it every time you settle your baby to sleep, the ideas is that they will begin to relax and associate sleep with the soundtrack. This Pavlovian reaction can then make it easier to calm your baby in the middle of the night or when you’re away from home.
Alternatively, I can highly recommend a certain Cretian beach…
Baby’s Sea Shore is available for £7.99 from www.sleepytot.com