What You Need to Know About Moms On Call’s Soothing Rounds
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Soothing rounds are a brilliant part of the Moms on Call method. If you’ve never heard of Moms on Call then start with this post –> What You Need to Know About Moms on Call
While I’ve found them to be incredibly useful, I can understand why there is a bit of confusion surrounding them. That’s what this post is for. It is meant to address your questions regarding what soothing rounds are and how to go about implementing them.
Before we get into the post, I would encourage you to purchase a copy of the Moms on Call book if you haven’t already done so.
It has such a bountiful amount of helpful information that doesn’t just stop at sleep. You’ll find everything from what baby supplies you need to common illnesses. It’s all in there along with the answers to many of your questions.
What are Soothing Rounds?
Soothing rounds involve your baby crying. I’m just going to get that out in the open right from the start. If you’re not comfortable allowing your baby to cry for even a very short period, then this post is not for you.
However, Moms on Call encourages you to begin soothing rounds from very early on (2-weeks). They are meant for younger babies, specifically under the age of 3 months.
Essentially, they involve allowing your baby to cry for a set amount of time before going to them and soothing. And as the title suggests, you do this several times. How long you allow them to cry before going in to soothe is up to your discretion.
You’ll find that the book recommends 2-5 minutes, to begin with, and to increase that time as your baby gets older. I know of several mothers that increase the time based on the number of weeks. So, 2 minutes at 2 weeks, 3 minutes at 3 weeks, etc.
In truth, the soothing rounds are just as much for the parent as they are for the baby. It isn’t easy to hear your baby cry, so being able to go in and soothe can help ease that struggle.
What is the Purpose of Soothing Rounds?
This is where the confusion often lies because often mothers have missed the purpose of soothing rounds. I can understand the mistake, but soothing rounds actually aren’t about soothing. The first purpose of soothing rounds is:
1. To Stretch Night Feeds
Using soothing rounds is incredibly helpful in teaching your baby to stretch out their night feeds. It can take away a lot of the guesswork regarding whether your baby is truly hungry or not. If they just will not settle, then you know that they are indeed hungry.
However, they may also fall back to sleep, in which case they were probably just transitioning through a sleep cycle.
If you’ve had a baby then you’ll likely know that they make a fair amount of noise even when they’re sleeping. At times it can be difficult to know whether they’re actually awake or not. I know that all of my babies have at times cried out and I’ve rushed to them only to find them peaceful and asleep in their bassinet.
Soothing rounds give you the opportunity to pause and really asses if your baby is ready for a feed.
I can personally attest that with consistent use, soothing rounds can and will extend night feedings. I used them with 2/3 of my babies and both of them started sleeping 2+ hours longer after just 2-3 nights of using soothing rounds.
The second purpose of soothing rounds is:
2. To Teach Self-Soothing
Part of establishing healthy sleep habits is to allow your baby to put themselves to sleep independently.
Read how to be successful with sleep training in this post –> The 3 Things You Need in Order to Be Successful With Sleep Training
This can seem daunting, especially to a first-time mom. However, soothing rounds can work really well for this and give you a clear plan to implement.
Personally, I see soothing rounds and their purpose of teaching self-soothing to be a really helpful perk when you’re already teaching them to stretch their feeds. By using soothing rounds consistently from early on you can avoid long periods of crying down the track.
I didn’t know about Moms on Call with my first baby, but with my second two I implemented the soothing rounds very early on and they both cried a whole lot less overall.
Soothing rounds aren’t just for nighttime sleep though. You can also use them for naps. They are helpful both for the initial going to sleep and also for helping to extend short naps.
Because soothing rounds are primarily for babies under 3-months of age, I would recommend taking care to avoid them becoming too overtired if they’re not settling for a nap. I have loved and referred to this blog post on the subject since my firstborn was tiny. –> My Sleep Hierarchy for Newborns
How Should You Implement Soothing Rounds?
The book will give you a fairly clear outline of how to go about doing soothing rounds. Basically, you decide on the amount of time you’re going to wait before going in to soothe. When your baby wakes in the night you wait that set amount of time.
It should be noted that your baby should be crying, not just fussing or grunting. They are most likely not awake and hungry if they’re not actually crying.
Once the set amount of time has passed and if your baby is still crying, you go in and soothe them. Soothing can involve jiggling the bassinet, rubbing their belly, and giving the pacifier. Do not pick them up.
Soothing shouldn’t last more than a minute.
After you’ve tried to soothe, leave the room and start the clock again for the time you’ve decided on. Repeat the soothing process if your baby is still crying.
Repeat the time and the soothing once more, making 3 times total.
If your baby is still crying after the third round of soothing, then you can go in and feed them.
This is how you implement it for night time feeds.
For naps, you do the same thing except for naps it is not to stretch feeds but to help teach them to fall asleep on their own. So, for that reason disregard the information about feeding after the third round.
As I mentioned above, do keep in mind that you want to avoid your baby getting overtired. The first few months are a balancing act when it comes to teaching them to sleep independently and making sure they get enough sleep.
It is totally fine to save a nap here and there if your baby is really struggling. I’ve had to do it with all three babies at some point or another and it hasn’t hurt anything at all.