Only little babies do that…

a blog by Emily\’s mother

Hands Down

Posted by DINRIL on November 12, 2006

My mother informs me that when my brothers were babies, she knew they had fallen asleep at night once they started sucking their thumbs. In Emily’s case, I have my own method of determining when she is out for the count – it’s the moment when her hands descend very slowly on to the mattress and she stops moving around.

Although this is accurate most of the time, it’s not always an exact indication, since there are some occasions when she is just about to descend into deep sleep, only for her to start randomly waving her hands around again (this is also usually the point when at least one mitten mysteriously ‘falls off’).

The other night, however, I popped back into her room to fetch something just after I’d put her down in her cot and made a surprising discovery. Emily was lying in the cot, very still and quiet, calmly sucking away at her hands – and within a few minutes she had fallen into a peaceful slumber.

This is a revelation for me, since she’s been settling herself back to sleep for weeks now after she wakes up for night feeds, and I’ve never stopped to wonder how she does it. (at bedtime she normally falls asleep as soon as she goes into the cot so I’ve never had the chance to see this for myself).

It would appear she is following in my siblings’ footsteps after all and gaining comfort from her thumb – or in fact from any fingers within sucking distance. That said, she hasn’t had a chance to demonstrate this skill very much recently – as since we started her on solids nearly two weeks ago she has slept through on every single night except one (last Tuesday when she first showed signs of having a cold).

But it has gotten me thinking that since I am generally a rather poor sleeper, perhaps sucking on my own hand might help me nod off. If it works for Emily then maybe it’ll work for me.

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5 Responses to “Hands Down”

  1. Melanie said

    How precious, and I do hope that she can wean herself from her thumbs when the time comes! Watching a baby fall asleep has got to be the cutest thing. My son sucked on his tongue…somehow… and I knew he was deep asleep when his tiny mouth stopped moving.

  2. katharina said

    🙂 Well now, you might have a great idea there! Maybe we should all give it a try to see if it works as well as it seems to work for babies!

  3. Eldragon said

    This brings back memories of trying to put my youngest to sleep at night. I’d rock her for an hour, and stand up, eager to put her in her crib, and she’d wake up everytime. Before long, I just learned to take her to bed with me.

  4. tater03 said

    How cute is that. You have a point there about adults trying something like that to fall asleep. You never know it just might work. I could just see my husband now if I started sucking my thumb. Almost makes me what to try it just to see his reaction.

  5. Starlily said

    LOL! You’ll have to let us know if you try it, Tater… I’ve read that self comforting is an important skill for babies to have though, and it sounds like Emily is starting really young!

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