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In baby dancing, style is as important as getting the steps right. Here are some tips that can make dancing with your baby more comforting and more fun.
1. Hold your partner. Cling to your little partner in whatever position works. Try the neck nestle, warm fuzzy, colic carries, shoulder drape, forward-facing hold, elbow rest, hip carry, or shoulder ride. During the first three to four months be sure to support your partner's wobbly, weighty head. 2. Choose the right rhythm. How fast to dance? Remember, while in the womb your baby was used to the rhythm of your pulse, usually around 60 to 70 beats per minute. Try to rock and swing to this rhythm, approximately one beat per second, "one and a two and a..." The volume, tempo, and type of music may change with your baby's mood, and yours. Baby's womb environment is actually quite loud, so don't be surprised if your baby prefers big band sounds. 3. Choose light dancing. Select a dance that you like, one that suits your mood and energy level, lest the dancer wear out before the fusser. One rainy night Lauren, our youngest, could not give herself up to sleep. Martha wracked her brain for what to do next when inspiration came from the weather. She started singing "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" (from the old movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and did a very jazzy dance step to match the jazzy tune. Lauren soon forgot she was resisting, relaxed into the fun, and nodded off before long. This winning tune got replayed and danced for many a night thereafter. Martha looked forward to it as a fun way to lull Lauren into Dreamland. 4. Use props. To keep your arms from wearing out before your legs, nestle baby in a sling as you dance. 5. Dinner dance. Some babies love to breastfeed in the sling while you dance. Your movement plus baby's sucking is a winning combination for settling even the most upset baby. Change partners. Babies usually prefer dancing with mother, after all, she's the dance partner baby came to know even before birth. It's as if baby says to the mother, "I like your style." This also explains why some fathers get frustrated when they try to cut in, offering some relief to worn-out dancer mom. Sometimes babies vehemently protest this change in partners, and father hands baby back to mother saying, "You take her, I give up." Yet many high-need babies like a change in routine and welcome dad's different holds and steps. And don't forget to invite grandmother to the dance. She has patient and experienced arms and can probably show baby some pretty fancy stepping from her days as a baby dancer.