Tell me if you relate. You sing a lullaby; give your baby the last feed; and prepare everything for a perfect landing into the crib. Your baby is drowsy and he falls asleep instantly. You’re doing an internal happy dance because Me Time is just around the corner. You taper your song a bit and walk out.
Two minutes later? You guessed it. Your baby starts to cry. (This was basically the first year with my eldest.)
I realized that the only way to truly ease him into sleep was a technique musicians have been using forever …
So what is the most important moment when putting your baby to sleep?
The Fade Out
● Place your baby in his crib as you’re singing the lullaby
● Use your voice to fade out, aka to slowly get softer in volume
● Hold out the notes even longer.
It sounds simple but it does a few profound things:
It slows us down. We’re so excited to be done and feel Netflix calling. The Fade Out forces us to take our time, slow down, and bring our energy level down in those last 10 or 20 seconds that you’re with your baby. If we truly slow down, then our baby does too.
It also forces us to be present. It’s almost impossible to fade out without being fully present while you’re doing it. It actually takes a lot of vocal control. Try it. In order to do it correctly, we need to put effort into slowly making our voice softer and that takes focus. It’s whatforces us to be mindful and present. Although freedom calls, our concentration keeps us in the moment.
It eases the transition. Think about when you’re listening to an album on your headphones. Many of the songs fade out in order to ease us into the next song. The Fade Out that you will do with your own voice will help your baby transition from noise, togetherness, and excitement into sleep.
Here’s how you’ll know if your Fade Out is working:
If it’s making YOU tired and putting YOU to sleep, then it’s going to do the same for your baby.
I find that this is usually the gauge with all things baby. We can use ourselves as a litmus test to understand our baby’s state. What I mean is: If you are feeling overstimulated in a crowd, your baby probably is, too. If you are feeling tired, then your baby probably is, too. And if you are feeling sleepy as you listen to your own voice, then your baby probably is, too.
Think of your lullaby and The Fade Out as points of deep connection with your baby before the overnight separation. Some parents in my groups say that their baby even gets slightly more alert at the beginning of the lullaby. This is because they feel that it is a real moment of connection with you. For those babies start a bit earlier than you would normally.
Eventually all the babies will be soothed by the lullaby if you do it the right way – if you yourself are present, relaxed, and getting sleepy from your own voice.
So try it tonight. Slow the process down. Give yourself two extra minutes to do this. Close out your day with your baby with care and attention. I think you’ll find that both you and your baby will benefit from a well-executed Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade
Do you do a fade out? Or do you use another technique to seal the deal? I want to hear about it! Comment and let me know.
Does your baby seem most relaxed when you are? Comment and let me know.
Simultaneous naps? Simultaneous tantrums? Comment here and tell us how in sync you are.
Know a baby who cries out from the crib? Share this with their parents.
And tell them I know what it’s like!
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