Advanced Slumber Strategies
Convince your little one to sleep through the night—before all the other babies on the block.
Some miracles find the concept of snoozing through the night passé. After dark, they prefer to pursue less sensible hobbies such as weeping inexplicably or playing mah-jongg. What’s a frustrated parent to do? Friends and neighbors try to help by supportively bragging about their own babies’ sleep prowess: “It’s like Maximilian enters this nine-hour coma! We find it quite uncanny!” Don’t be fooled: Likely as not, these smug parents are sneakily using one of these cutting-edge European techniques.
Often babies who have failed to master uninterrupted unconsciousness simply need a role model. Most Dutch pediatricians recommend this sloth, a congenial animal that sleeps up to eighteen hours a day and has a knack for making wakefulness seem uncool. Notice how this miracle is so eager to please his new sloth, he can barely keep his eyes open, let alone scream for nourishing breast milk.
Safety tip: Do not adopt a two-toed sloth. Plagued by a sense of inadequacy, the breed attacks anyone with a larger array of toes.
This popular Lithuanian technique involves surrounding your infant with unstimulating masterpieces. For example, Baby need only stare at Donald Judd’s unrewarding minimalist sculptures (see illustration) for two minutes before pleading for the oblivion of sleep. As an alternative, have your sister tell Baby about her dream, the one where she tries on seven hundred pairs of slingback shoes.
Safety tip: When lifting dreary neoclassical paintings more than fifteen feet wide, remember to use your legs, not your back.
Re-creating the familiar whooshing sound of the womb can lull even skeptical babies to sleep. While some parents fuss with noise machines and others brandish blow dryers, they’re wasting their time. As the Swedes have discovered, no sound triggers infant slumber more effectively than that produced by the simple, picturesque act of throttling a wooden butter churn for four to seven hours every night.
Safety tip: It’s not advisable to eat the twenty-nine pounds of butter you’ll be producing each week in the form of garlic toast.
Another Swedish innovation, this device ferries the miracle between your bed and her nursery, rocking her gently as she travels. While giving Baby a degree of independence, it zips her past you frequently enough that she can sense your soothing presence. And there are few moments more tender than when Baby shoots through the plastic infant door like a case of imported beer.
Safety tip: Though engineered to the highest standards, the conveyor belt is not suitable for babies over twenty-five years of age.