Teaching your baby to self soothe
The key to helping babies learn to self soothe is to establish a good, calming nightly routine. Setting a consistent bedtime is another important factor; it encourages a consistent sleeping pattern which has numerous benefits. Babies also need plenty of chance and time to figure out how to sleep on their own. All of these are important elements which contribute to teaching a baby how to self soothe. You can start introducing good sleep habits to your baby as early as a few weeks old as this stops bad habits forming. Don’t worry if your baby is no longer a newborn; you can still introduce some good sleeping habit which will help when it comes to self-soothing.
Having a regular bedtime is key; setting a consistent bedtime will ensure that as bedtime approaches your baby will naturally begin to get drowsy. They will be more likely to drift off by themselves when their bodies are ready for sleep. It helps to set their sleep cycle and increases the chances of them falling asleep. There are a few things to remember when setting a bedtime; the main thing being to make sure it is not too late as this increases the chances of the baby being overtired which leads to more problems.
Implementing a calming bedtime routine is essential for children of all ages, even babies. The younger they are when you start introducing routine, the better as it means they will always know when it is time for bed. A good bedtime routine usually involves taking a bath and reading a story, but it is completely dependant on what works best for you and your family. You can also include some cuddle time before bed to let your baby know it is time to sleep.
If your baby is a little older, they may have already developed some sleeping habits which are stopping their ability to self soothe. When babies have not had to self soothe before it is not unusual that they won’t be able to do it. One thing to try stop or reduce is feeding them until they fall asleep; by feeding a baby until they are asleep, they cannot learn to soothe themselves to sleep. A few alternatives are to move the feed to earlier or to gradually shorten it. It is not a problem if they begin to drift off but make sure when they look sleepy you put them to bed; this is a good way to start to encourage self-soothing.
What to remember if you’re struggling
If you’re struggling, don’t worry! Some babies take longer than others to self-soothe but don’t panic they will get there. A couple of things to look out for if you’re struggling are; overtiredness, if your baby is overtired this can be counterproductive and prevent sleep at all. If your still concerned, maybe it is time to assess the situation and give them more space to self soothe, by taking a break from rocking them to sleep or by decreasing the time spent with them when they go to bed. It can take time but trust the routine and eventually you’ll get there.