Exhausted AF because your baby won’t sleep on his/her own?
Enter the Shush Pat Method. It’s one of those gentler, easy-to-do baby sleeping techniques and is a lot less harsh than the CIO or even Ferber method.
But what exactly is the shush pat method?
I hope you’ll love the products we recommend! Just a quick note: if you click on a product link below and decide to buy it, we may earn a small commission.
Shush Pat Method: In a Nutshell
The shush-pat method is when you lay your baby on his/her side and you rhythmically pat their bottom in an upward motion while simultaneously making a shushing sound.
The rhythmical movement plus sound mimic a mother’s womb.
Which is very calming and relaxing for babies. This, along with a proper sleeping environment and consistent bedtime routine, can help your little one fall asleep.
So how to do the shush pat technique? Let’s prep first mentally and emotionally before getting into its ways.
Tips About the Shush Pat Technique
First of all, before we go through it step-by-step, you need to do the following:
You need to have a flexible mindset and you must be open to the idea that the shush-patting method might not work on your baby.
You might need to try another sleeping method. Or you might just need to accept the fact that your baby is one of those kids that just don’t sleep well.
Manage your expectations
You also need to manage your expectations about getting enough sleep and rest.
Expect to be severely sleep-deprived and to be extremely tired, trying to put your baby to sleep.
So when you are in that state, it’s not as frustrating and depressing, as you’ve been expecting!
I’ve been in that situation where I was doing everything I can but my baby just won’t go to sleep.
And it frustrated the hell out of me.
It even made me depressed and made me feel like a failure.
I also had postpartum depression then so my baby not sleeping just made things worse.
You can check out some tips here on how to cope with sleep deprivation with a newborn.
Change the goal: Help baby sleep, not YOU
Let’s flip the switch on the goal of any sleeping method.
Cause if you think about it, the REAL aim of any sleeping technique out there is to help parents and caregivers get enough sleep and rest.
We are all teaching our babies to sleep independently, sleep longer, soothe themselves to sleep, and put themselves back to sleep – with the goal of parents (all of us) – getting enough rest and sleep.
It’s about US (the parents), it’s about our needs. It’s not about them – it’s not about our babies!
Which does make sense in a way, cause we need some rest.
Otherwise, we’d end up physically and mentally exhausted, lacking focus and concentration, which could endanger our baby.
Let’s try to turn that around and make it our goal to help our baby sleep.
Let’s make it about them, instead of us.
So if ever our babies won’t still sleep or sleep longer at night, we won’t get too worked up and angry that we didn’t meet our goal.
Instead, we will feel empathy for our babies.
And we will think of ways to help them, instead of ways to help ourselves.
Get into the right mindset first and expect to be really tired the whole damn time.
Now let us get to the process of making your baby sleep using the Shhh-Patting Technique
How Do You Do the Shush Pat Method?
1.) Prepare the sleep environment
Keep your baby’s room dark, cool (but not cold), and quiet.
Use blackout curtains to block out the sun, turn on the AC at the right temperature and play white noise or some soothing songs or lullabies.
In short, just make their nursery room a conducive sleeping environment.
No cats waiting to jump in the bassinet, no other younger kids running around, don’t crank up the AC too much or too low, etc.
2.) Complete your bedtime routine
Read a book, place them in their sleep sack, cuddle up with them, say a sleeping phrase, etc.
Do this every nap and every nighttime sleep.
Stay consistent with the bedtime routine, to signal to your child that it’s time for them to sleep. Eventually, they will understand and get it.
3.) Lay them on their side
You can carry your baby and let them lie on their side.
But ideally, you’d want to place them in their crib or bassinet.
Just so you don’t need to transition them from your arms to the crib, which can wake them up in the process.
4.) Start shushing and patting
While you’re supporting them with one hand while lying on their side, rhythmically pat their bottom in an upward motion while making a shushing sound.
The patting mimics the feel of a mother’s heartbeat inside the womb, while the shushing sounds like the blood rushing in a mom’s veins.
All of these elements are calming to your baby, making it easier for them to drift off to sleep.
5.) Slow down patting and shushing
As your baby’s breathing slows down and their bodies start relaxing, slow down the patting and do long pauses in between shushing.
Gradually reduce the patting and shushing.
6.) Lay baby on their back
Now turn your little ones on their back gently and let them fall asleep independently.
If you want to make sure that they stay calm or asleep on their back, place your hand on their chest and apply a little bit of pressure.
Wait until they’ve stopped stirring then slowly remove your hand from their chest.
Shush-Patting Is NOT Working!
If you’ve already tried it long enough and it still doesn’t settle your baby to sleep, do the following:
- Wait until they’re older
Most experts suggest sleep training your child when they’re at least 4 months old.
By that time, they will be old enough to learn how to self-soothe and can make it to 6 to 8 hours without night feedings.
So if the shush-pat method is not working on your 2-month-old, try waiting until they’re older. Then try it again.
- Try it with naps first
Start the shush-pat method during short, quick naps first.
Practice it during the day and if things are getting better, apply it during nighttime sleep.
- Try another sleeping method
There are a few more sleeping techniques you can try.
Just make sure that you’ve at least been consistent with your sleeping routine and the nuances of the shush-pat method, before moving on.
- Turn to sleeping experts and tools
If you have the budget, why not get help from a professional. You can turn to baby sleeping experts, purchase courses and classes on how to sleep train your baby, get a book, and read up on various sleeping methods.
- Accept and go with the flow
Again, this is why it’s important to keep an open mind and manage your expectations about baby sleep and sleeping methods.
Because you can do everything by the book, applying all the sleeping techniques and advice out there but none won’t still work on your baby.
So the only thing to do is to just accept the fact that you can’t force your baby to sleep better and longer using any sleeping methods.
Turn that into a norm in your head. And don’t compare your baby to other families, as everyone is different.
Focus now on ways to keep your baby asleep in a safe environment.
You can’t hold them forever, it might be risky to co-sleep – so think of strategies for your little one to sleep safely and for you, to get more rest and sleep.
You can hire a night nurse, sleep in shifts with your spouse, ask for help from your in-laws, etc.
Does the Shush Pat Method Work?
The Shush Pat Method can work for younger babies, particularly those in the newborn stage. It’s a great way to sort of train your baby, initially, how to fall asleep without feeding or rocking them.
Some say the Shush Pat Technique is effective because your baby is basically distracted. They can’t cry if they’re getting tired, distracted and comforted by your shushing and patting.
That’s only a theory though. I say, it can work for some babies and it can aggravate some babies, making them cry more, instead of falling asleep.
So it depends on the baby.
Is Shush Pat Method Sleep Training?
Yes, the Shush Pat Method is one form of sleep training.
Any sleep training methods involves teaching your baby how to sleep independently and the Shush Pat Method is a “beginner” sleeping method. It initially trains your little one to sleep, without you having to hold them or feed them.
Pat and Shush Method: Alternatives
Here are other popular sleeping methods that can help your little one fall asleep.
Extinction, or Cry It Out (CIO)
Ferber Method/ Graduated Extinction/ Progressive Waiting/ Interval Method
Bedtime-Routine Fading Technique
Tips on Using Sleeping Methods
- Don’t compare your baby to others
We are all different and one particular sleeping method won’t work on all babies.
For some kids, there might not even be a sleeping technique that can work on them!
So don’t feel bad if your baby isn’t sleeping as well as the others.
You’re not a bad mom for not being able to make your baby fall asleep easily.
You just have a child that has a difficult time sleeping, that’s all.
- Don’t overthink sleep training
This is an interesting piece of advice from one parent in an online popular parenting group.
She said they didn’t put any conscious effort into sleep training and would just always try to comfort their baby to sleep.
After 11-12 months though, they were able to put down their baby drowsy, and eventually, he went to sleep!
What I got from her advice is to manage your expectations and go with the flow.
Don’t try too hard to force your baby to sleep.
Just do what you can for your baby to sleep safely and for you to get some rest.
- Try Eat Play Sleep routine
The Eat Play Sleep routine is basically a regimen where your baby starts off their day with some feeding, then playing and finally sleeping.
The advantage of this routine is your baby doesn’t get dependent on the sleeping crutch, such as feeding, to help make fall asleep.
FAQ on Shh Pat Method
How long should I shush pat?
You should do the shushing and pat for at least 10 to 20 minutes.
Or until your baby’s body and breathing relax.
Does the Shh Pat method work?
Yes, the Shh Pat Method works for some babies.
But remember, everyone is different so as always, be flexible and open-minded and manage your expectations about any sleeping methods.
Shush Pat Method: The Bottom Line
Sleeping through the night is a milestone that our little ones reach at different times.
Your baby fighting sleep, wanting to always be held when sleeping, getting broken sleep – these won’t last forever.
They will eventually sleep through the night. Even without the shush pat method!
So this too shall pass and stay strong! You can do this!