A new study suggests that rather than rushing to provide comfort when infants wake up at night, we should allow our babies to self settle and drift back to sleep without our assistance.
Teaching your baby to self-settle is like your baby learning to crawl. If you always carry your baby, he won’t get a chance to learn how to crawl on his own. Similarly, if you make it a habit to feed or rock your baby to sleep, he won’t learn how to self-settle.
The key is to setup a routine, so the baby knows when its time to sleep. This also helps your baby to set his own internal clock and be sleeping at a specified time.
Create a consistent bedtime routine which lets him know when it is time to sleep. To further help with self-settling, include soothing activities in your routine like a warm bath, a baby massage, tell a story or sing a song.
Babies Sleep Associations
Sleep association is a way babies can sleep soundly as they associate various objects, people, and activities when going to sleep.
These types of sleep associations are a short term solution and can quickly become a habit, I know it’s hard but try to break them as quickly as possible.
You may like to offer other sleep associations like pacifiers, teddy bears, mobiles, night lights, swaddles etc but these are a personal choice. Choose what you think will work best for your baby and your routine.
It is important to establish a sleep association from day one.
After bringing your newborn home from the hospital, settle them into a room and try several sleep associations that will make your baby feel calm, safe and comfortable. One example of a good sleep association is to talk softly to your baby.
Establish a Baby Sleep Routine
Establish a good baby sleep routine early on. The best way to do this is to set times for daily naps, feeds and nightly bedtime. This helps your baby understand what to expect, and when to expect it. Try and stick to the routine but also be flexible for those unexpected times. It is important your baby is able to handle situations out side their routine.
Once you have established a sleep routine, it will help your baby learn to self-settle a lot quicker.
Baby Self Settling Techniques
Once your baby is sleeping well and you are feeling confident, you can start with self-settling. You might like to try talking softly to them, giving your baby a cuddle and say “it’s sleep time” every time you put baby down for a sleep. If they start to grizzle, just pick them up, calm them down then try again.
Start a feed, play, sleep routine, babies love routine and will soon learn the difference between day and night. At around 4-5 months if you have persevered with a sleep routine, your baby will learn to self-soothe, relax and go back to sleep unassisted.
Please Note: There will always be times when things do not go to routine, just do what you need to do, then you can resume your routine when things have settled down.
We recommend to start with self settling as soon as you can, it will take some patience, but both you and your baby will benefit in the long run. If you have some self-settling tips, we would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below…………………….