Getting Baby to Soothe Himself to Sleep

Is it possible for babies to soothe themselves to sleep? While it sounds next to impossible, it is achievable. That said, it requires training and patience, you may have to let your baby cry for a bit before you can soothe him. Teaching your infant this very essential skill will see your young one sleep much longer and naturally fall back asleep if and when he wakes up at night. Read on to learn the tips that will help your baby to soothe himself to sleep without your comforting him all along.

Tips on Getting Baby to Soothe Himself to Sleep

1. Wait for the Right Time

This is the basic principle of getting baby to soothe himself to sleep. You do not really train your baby to self-soothe; you provide the opportunity for the skill to develop naturally. Self-soothing will occur at the right development stage and this is normally between the baby’s third to sixth month. The circumstances also must be ideal and you should compare this skill with learning to crawl. Unless you give your baby the space to discover that he can soothe himself, he will not learn. Therefore avoid constantly rocking and nursing your infant to sleep.

2. Go Gentle

Some babies are born with the natural ability to self-soothe, but this is only a small percentage. You cannot force your baby to self-soothe as this may even worsen the situation. Be gentle. A few methods you can use include: nursing, co-sleeping, rocking and holding your baby as well. These techniques work progressively which means that you need to give the baby some time to truly learn and adapt to sleeping independently. Don’t put the baby down when deep asleep, instead move step by step to putting her down when half asleep, drowsy and finally when drowsy but awake.

3. Use Sleep Associations

This step is useful when getting baby to soothe himself to sleep. Babies associate sleep with certain objects and these range from pacifiers to teddy bears. As a parent, you should choose suitable items that the baby can associate sleep with from day one. Not all items you select will work but you can try several and select the ones that seem to calm your baby and make them most comfortable. Talking you baby softly is one of the most accepted methods of soothing a baby.

4. Try the Settle-and Leave Method

The settle and leave method has been widely encouraged and this involves a routine where you help your baby settle into their bed then leave the room. Begin by helping the baby settle for 2 minutes before leaving for an equal 2 minutes. Move on to settling for another 2 minutes, then leave for a longer period of time for 4 minutes. Progress by lengthening the duration you leave to 10 minutes. This method has been proven to be quite effective but, you have to be consistent. Use it for all sleep times not just at night.

5. Set a Regular Bedtime Routine

Setting a regular bedtime is a great way to train your baby to fall asleep on their own. You need to have a consistent routine by having a steady bedtime. It also helps to have some soothing activities such as a bathing the baby before sleep, having a cuddle and reading a bed time story. When you are done with the bedtime routine, put the baby to bed while still drowsy and not awake. This routine helps set the infant’s internal clock making them naturally sleepy at a certain time, every day. To have an easier time training your baby to self-soothe, we recommend that you establish a good routine early in their life.

6. Drop the Sleeping-When-Feeding Habit

A lot of babies are used to feeding themselves to sleep. If your baby has developed this habit, you need to put a stop to it. Change your young one’s feeding time to an earlier time and slowly reduce the number of minutes the baby feeds. You could also curb the habit by promptly ending feeding when you notice the baby drifting off. Once you stop feeding him, finish the bedtime routine and lay him to sleep.

7. Put Him to Bed When He’s Drowsy but Awake

Put your baby to sleep while drowsy but awake. A baby who is put to bed fully asleep only to wake up in a different environment and with no one in sight, will obviously get scared. If your baby is aware of his surroundings when falling asleep, chances of him going back to sleep when he awakes are higher. Let the child learn by being supportive. The process is about training your baby and being there to help them figure out the process, not you doing it for them. The goal is to make your baby self-reliant.

8. Set the Bedroom in a Right Atmosphere

The atmosphere in the baby’s room must be ideal for sleep and it helps to dress for the occasion. Create a quiet environment where the baby will not be woken up by noise. Darkness is ideal and you can have opaque shades to help give your baby an extra hour of sleep even when the sun has already come out. Sound can also be used to help calm down the ambience and you can play soft music, repetitive sounds or a recording of yourself to help mellow down your baby and induce sleep.

9. Don’t Ignore Crying

The term self-soothing is associated with ignoring your baby’s cries. Well, this shouldn’t be the case. Responding to your baby’s cries teaches your baby to trust you. Do not ignore a crying baby.

10. Stay with the Baby

If the settle and leave method doesn’t work and may even poses risks of emotional trauma to your baby. Leaving your baby to fall asleep on their own may be a scary experience for the baby. A scared baby cannot fall asleep and this will make it even harder for them to get any sleep at all. Stay with the baby while training him to sleep on his own. You need to convince your baby that you will not leave her making it okay for them to fall asleep. Eventually, the baby will master the skill and you will not need to be physically present.