Forget the lullabies, shushing, and those swinging contraptions. All you need to peacefully send a newborn off into slumber is apparently…tissue paper.
Sydney father Nathan Dailo shows the method that he says works wonders on his 3-month-old son, Seth, in a YouTube video that has sleep-deprived parents around the globe mystified about how he’s able to get his son from squirmy to snoozing in just 40 seconds.
The footage titled, “How to put a baby to sleep in less than ONE MINUTE” and posted on March 23 has already raked in more than 388,000 views and some gratitude. “This worked for my baby 5 times already so thanks!“ posted one viewer. (Though another laments the maneuver did little to sooth her 1-year-old child who was, as the commenter writes at 11 p.m., “not only wide awake but also tore the tissue I was trying to use.”)
But Dailo swears by the technique — which consists of simply gliding a tissue paper over his son’s face over and over until he’s out like a light. In Seth’s case, that only takes about 14 strokes. “Really, any light touching on your baby’s forehead area works too,” writes the dad in his post. “It’s just funnier with a tissue lol…You can try just about anything though. We have found running your fingers over their forehead or over the bridge of their nose lightly will give the same effect too.”
While the method may be strange, there’s no doubt it can be successful. Why is that? The repetition is soothing, according to Tarzana Pediatrics Medical Group pediatrician Dafna Ahdoot. “It’s not the tissue that matters, it’s the motion,” she tells Yahoo Parenting. “You’re basically stimulating baby’s ability to self soothe, which calms him down and helps him go to sleep.”
Similar to babies sucking their thumb or rhythmically touching their faces as newborns do, the strokes of the tissue paper act like a massage. “It seems like this guy hit the right frequency,” says Ahdoot. “A recent study from a doctor in Israel found that 1 stroke massage every 3 seconds is the rhythm that most helps babies fall asleep.” Stroking motions actually increase the child’s melatonin levels too, the hormone that your body makes as you fall asleep, she adds.
Trouble is, after a few months this tissue technique should be tossed. “By four months, when sleep structure changes into a more adult rhythm of sleep, you want to help babies self soothe and not be dependent on methods that you have to provide,” she says.