Updated: Nov 8, 2019
I am old school, Ive been raising babies for 25 years. As a nanny, my kids never grew up as such, as once they were off to school, they didn't need me anymore really and I would go back to a different baby. So I have moved a lot of wee ones in my time. This blog is about sleeping babies and transferring them around the place.
From arms to cot. From person to person and from car seat to cot/ pushchair, your be to theirs. I am old fashioned, I like old ways of doing things and I have found they work , like swaddling. I know! And I had a the discussion with my HV when I ( finally ) had my own baby that the school of thought had moved on from swaddling. Thats nice .. As Mrs Brown would say. I swaddle, I also rolled. As in popped a roll behind and in front of my baby to sleep. I'll put the You Tube link in here so you can see what I am on about. I found it worked for me and my wee one slept the through the night this way from 6 weeks. I have continued with the roll technique as she grows. I no longer roll her up but when she was rolled and swaddled you had to carry them and pick them up in a certain way and thats what I continue through to now. What I mean is that with them contained you have to lift them in a particular way, supporting through the ages, first head, then shoulders and finally both parts of the torso , shoulders to bum. I have tried and tested and true ways of doing it. Here is how I did/ do it.
Flat hands. Think of your baby like a pancake. You need to make sure you evenly bear the weight when you are moving them sleeping. I have found that if you grab them , especially under the arms it wakes them up instantly. So use flat hands, if they are asleep on you , it's usually flat on your chest or in the crook of your arm. When you need to move, or move them, keep a flat platform, holding them close to you. This goes right up to all ages. Your baby / toddler when asleep ( and you want to keep it that way ) needs to feel safe and contained. Touching skin or raising their body parts up will jolt them out of the REM stage and they will take a while to settle. Covering as much body as you can with warm hands makes the feel secure. So place flat palms against them. Keeping pressure though hand and fingers even. No poking or prodding to heighten their senses and waken.
Python hold. I use both hands to come at my wee one from both sides. To help them feel secure with flat hands, I try to encompass their body. One arm sliding under shoulder blades and the other coming around her bum. I have found this especially useful when doing a car seat to cot transfer. I take the straps off her, making sure to move her limbs using her clothing. The act of touching skin to skin awakens ( literally ) the senses and rouses them. So minimal contact as possible. I slide one arm under top half and the other under bottom half so she is , when raised up curling in to my body. You can also do bottom hand through the legs and lift them out that way from the car seat. Scooping them towards you. Another variation is to lift them by the scruff of their clothes, but only when they are little and you can do this weight wise. But it still can be done to help raise them up so you can get your arm under when they are older.
Scruffing , is taking a bunch of clothing in to a fist and pulling up . The clothing acts as a sling and holds baby's weight . Just make sure you have a good hold to balance the weight distribution out. Baby grow onesies are particularly good for this.
Roll towards or away from you. Whenever you are moving them , be it from you to couch so you can go pee or to another arms, and or out of pushchair and or car seat. Try to roll them along your arms. Children naturally turn over to their sides in their sleep or all the way over to tummies so the sensation of rolling will not wake them fully if it is artificially done. I found that I could transfer wee one to Daddy's arm by us becoming one arm length as such . We would put our crooked arms next to each other and then roll her over the gap and in to the waiting crook. If you drop them, the feeling of falling, even the smallest bit, wakes the brain. I roll my wee one out of the car seat if sleeping like this. I python hold her them roll her gently towards my body nestling her face in my neck. That aspect is important on two counts .
One- You smell right. Your baby has been asleep in your neck from day dot. It's their happy place. Your perfume, deodorant and body smell is strongest in the crook of your neck. So when being lifted, its instant security to a sleepy brain who is being sent signals, something isn't right in the momentum department.
Two- its dark , your'e moving baby and they are stirring , no matter what you do , by rolling the into a dark safe place they will relax.
Wave technique / Head first. Placing a baby down from your arms is very important to do it right as all your hard work can be undone in an instant. There is a trick to it, when putting them flat either to cot or pushchair go in head first. As in head down. Like a wave shape. Tilt your whole body and your wee ones towards the mattress at an angle. Sounds strange but works trust me. And gently place their head down first then allow their body to lower down vertebrae by vertebrae. Think pilates and yoga or even weights when you lower down slowly. Let the action flow like a wave ' ~ ' shape. Ending in gently putting feet down. I have found if you place flat , it seems to rouse them and also its hard to get hands out and the extra movements of sliding you hands out from underneath them alerts them to a disruption in equilibrium. With your flat hands, letting them pour ( they are all floppy anyway ) down out of your arms you can release your hold without them noticing.
Pyramid scheme. I have found that when they are already lying down, it can be hard to get them up and into your arms while sleeping, especially if you haven't a hold on them already ( as in , they asleep in the crook of your now dead arm ) so collecting them up can be tricky. I have found if you scoop them up with flat palm starting from the waist on either side. You sort of sweep your hands under and up , collecting their body weigh on your forearms , so ( fingers crossed ) they don't notice they are being elevated and like lifting water from a pool. You bring your hands together at their heads. Raising them up towards you and either nestling in to your neck , as above and or if you can kinda keep them flat like a pizza, transferring them silently in to their cot , using the reverse method to lay them flat. Hence the nickname pyramid , as you are making a triangle with your arms to begin with. This method is also good for ones / Mums back as it has a heavy load throughout the day and takes a beating , this uses your shoulders and forearms and wrist strength instead.
If needed , and I try to have the bed ready , muslin or wrap already on the mattress so once down they can be bundled up tight if thats how they feel secure. Or blanket there to tuck them in. Curtains closed already so the transaction is as seamless and possible. Sometimes this means leaving them to sleep in car for a few minutes while I whip inside to do this and or leave car running and radio on while I get pushchair sorted ready to receive.
I have found that you have to time this all just right as such. There is no point in transferring a sleeping child who is just coming out of a sleep cycle or too far in. I have found children cycles are around 45 mins and once they learn to link them , they usually nap for in the day time for 90 minutes or so. If you need to transfer them , you need to do so within 15 mins of them falling asleep or it can be too disruptive and they wake and are unsettable. Think of when we get woken from a deep sleep ! If you have missed the window as such , park up and catch up on phone, or nap yourself !! A sleep every so often in the car seat won't do harm just don't for their backs development, every day .
I know every child is different and unique in how they like or dislike things to happen to them. So disregard any or all of this if it doesn't work for you. It's a suggestion and a method I have found that works for children I have encountered. If it works for you in the slightest and you can get that treasure transfer and down time, then Im glad I shared !!