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Home » Advice and Tips, Calming, Products

Bouncing ball, sleeping baby

Submitted by on Thursday, 11 September 200811 Comments
Hey you!  Get some sleep!

Hey you! Get some sleep!

Many of you have heard of the movie, “Crouching Tiger, hidden dragon.”  I am here to tell you a bit about its lesser known, but critically acclaimed, sequel, “Bouncing Ball, sleeping baby.”

The plotline goes like this:

11pm.  A tired and desperate father is trying every trick in the book (and on this site) to relieve his seven week old baby daughter’s fussiness and crying.  Nothing seems to be working.  She has been fed and has a clean diaper.  Feeling desperate, the father eyes his wife’s 26 inch Zenzu Exercise Ball in the corner of the room.  In need of a moment of zen, he gets on the ball.  With his baby held upright and her head close to his left shoulder, he starts bouncing up and down on the ball gently.  Gently.  Not like Tigger.  More like a slow, gentle, TLC type of bounce.  It feels good.  Faster than he can say, “Supercalafragialisticexpialadocious,” his baby relaxes and so does he.  No more fussiness.  No more crying.  Just a calm, relaxed, sleeping baby.  The father has achieved zen.  The mystery of the bouncing ball, sleeping baby has been solved.  Wondering why he didn’t try this earlier, the father realizes he is too tired to wonder and heads to bed.  He sleeps.

Based on a true story.  Coming to a bedroom near you.  Give it a try!

Disclaimer:  be very gentle when bouncing and don’t bounce too strongly.  You don’t want to shake your baby.

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  • GINA says:

    We made the “mistake” of doing this around 7 weeks also. Yes , it does calm our baby immediately, but now at 3 months old, the only thing that puts her to sleep is continuous bouncing on the ball for VERY long periods of time. As soon as you try to put her down, she cries. We also have to pretty much bounce on the ball all day to keep her calm. It kills your back! Not sure if this was a lifesaver or a huge mistake. Maybe it will be different for others. Our baby is a VERY HIGH NEEDS baby.

  • Head Jammer says:

    Thanks for your comment Gina. You bring up a good point that every baby is different, and sometimes babies get used to things that calm them, and then need them all the time. On the bright side, the technique worked, on the downside, it worked so well that your baby wants it all the time. It is always hard to say what it would be like if you hadn’t started it. Our first child also had high needs, and he got used to having us by his side in order to fall asleep. You can read here about the troubles we had with breaking that habit, but we don’t know if we could have done it differently. Our second child is much different and has been able to fall asleep really well on her own lately, and didn’t become dependent on the bouncing ball or any other calming technique I recommend here (except for the blow dryer (white noise) – she still likes to have that noise in the background when falling asleep). So as you say, different babies have different needs, and I am sure you have heard of parents trying all kinds of things that their babies become dependent on, whether driving in the car to fall asleep, or having their back patted, or being carried, etc. I wish you luck and thanks again for your comment.

  • GINA says:

    Luckily now at 6 months, all of that is long in the past =) I think as a first time parent, things you have to do the first few months feels like decades at that time and then when you look back you think, oh that was nothing ! =) I think it was around 4 months that we didnt have to use the ball anymore. She is still high needs but things are alot better and I think she is learning to communicate a tad better since she is a little older. I will have to say THANK YOU to the bouncy ball though! I dont know what we would have done without that thing!! My back on the otherhand….isn’t so thoughtful HA.

  • Head Jammer says:

    Thanks for the update Gina, that is great to hear! Funny enough, our daughter was really used to falling asleep with white noise (blow dryer) running in the background. That got to be a bit too much for us, so we stopped it. After that, she had some difficulties falling asleep. Recently, she got a cold, and the only way that she would fall asleep was… you guessed it… on the bouncy ball! Now, even after her cold has gotten better, she got used to it. So we are back to bouncing her to sleep. I don’t mind so much, because she falls asleep pretty quickly, and I guess it is good exercise for me, but it is just a bit annoying because it seems like we have regressed. But like you say, everything changes quickly, and when you look back, it really seems like nothing :) . I’m really glad to hear your update though, thanks so much!

  • sofea's mummy says:

    Hi Head Jammer, Hi Gina,
    My 4 months old baby is used to both :( it started out like u said, in the early weeks we were trying everything to calm her down. We discovered both the exercise ball n hairdryer, so now it’s either one. She can fall to sleep easier at night. But its her daytime naps that pretty difficult. After 2 months, the ball was really killing our back so we got her a swing/bouncer n she can fall asleep in there. The problem is she cant nap if she’s not in the swing. So it’s hard to take her out. We’d be out for only an hour n then we have to rush back to put her in the swing (it’s not portable see) Just like u said Gina, i dont know if it was a mistake to get her so used to the ball n swing, for now we cannot put her to nap without it. Perhaps if we taught her to sleep just by putting her on the shoulder n patting her back, it’ll be easier to move about. She’s a very active n curious baby. She will never put her head on your shoulder even if she’s sleepy. She’ll be looking around, with her eyes wide open. I do hope like your baby Gina, that she’ll outgrow all of these soon. I wish i could take her out longer , put on all the cute baby outfits i got for her n show her to the rest of the world.

  • Head Jammer says:

    Hi Sofea’s Mummy, nice to hear from you. The good news is, as the babies get a bit older, they change and you can get them “un-used” to certain things. Now that our daughter is a year old, we have managed to get to the point where we can just lie her in her crib, she will cry a little bit, but not long or not really loud, and then she will just stop crying and fall asleep. That is a big improvement from the time when she would only fall asleep if we bounced her. So, there definitely is hope!

  • Super Mom says:

    You should check out bouncebebe.com; it was just featured on Live with Regis and Kelli, and is very similar exercise technique that is mentioned here.

  • Georgia says:

    Hi Gina
    I know this was written a while ago… but how did you stop the bouncing on the ball at 6 months?
    My little one is 7.5 months and that’s the only way she sleeps, that or by nursing(mainly at night only).
    Any suggestions will be much appreciated (except the CIO method).

  • Melissa says:

    Did you find anything that worked? I have a 7.5 month old that is a high needs baby and she needs to be bounced to sleep. She also is now waking several times to be bounced back to sleep. I miss my sleep! Please help!

  • Head Jammer says:

    Hi Georgia and Melissa,
    The way that we stopped the bouncing (our daughter is now 2 years and 4 months old and falls asleep on her own), was through gradual reduction until eventually she didn’t need it at all anymore. This meant that sometimes we didn’t go on the bouncing ball with her to calm her down, but tried other methods, such as white noise, or even just waiting a bit to see if she would stop crying on her own.
    It is definitely a difficult time and it is hard to get through, but stay strong, you will get through it soon, and before you know it they’ll be sleeping though the night on their own. Every baby is different, so it is hard to say if something that worked for us will work for you, but it is always worth trying and hoping for the best.

  • Marta says:

    I’m a little late on this post, but my 3 month old baby also will ONLY fall asleep when bouncing with him on an exercise ball. He is a high needs, extremely fussy baby and he is very particular about the bounce: won’t work up and down but side to side, I have to give him the pinkie (since he won’t take ANY pacifier) and pat him in the butt with the other hand, while making sounds (oooh ooh ooooh). The louder the better. I know it sound crazy, and I am going crazy as well. Since he only naps for 30 minutes, this has to happen many times a day, and I have developed carpal tunnel on my wrists. Most days I cry with him.
    I don’t think it’s good for either of us to associate sleep time with crying… but if he doesn’t sleep he’s overtired and cries even more.
    I’ve been thinking of seeing a sleep specialist, but that’s probably very expensive. I’m alone all day and do not have any help. I am desperate.
    It’s uplifting to read that some of you got your kids to fall asleep on their own, and can barely remember those early months. (GINA, how is your high needs child at 6 years old?)
    Anyway, thanks for the post. It’s encouraging!


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