Rocking your baby to sleep is something many parents enjoy, and can be a wonderful experience. However, the time often comes when you may wish for them to be able to fall asleep on their own. Enter self soothing!
Whether it’s helping them to drift off independently, or helping them get back to sleep on their own when they wake in the night, teaching your baby to self soothe is a great skill which will help both of you to enjoy a more restful night’s sleep.
When to begin
For the first six months of your baby’s life, they’ll sleep in the same room as you, on their own separate sleeping surface. At around three to four months old, they may begin to show signs of self soothing; and by about six months old, they may be able to sleep through the night (although don’t worry if your little one isn’t yet - every baby is different!).
At the six month mark, you may also wish to move them into their own room, and this could seem like a natural time to begin teaching them to self soothe at night.
Teach good sleep habits early
While it will be a few months until you teach your baby to self soothe, it’s never too early to begin nurturing good sleep habits! A structured bed time routine should be introduced at around three months old, and familiar night time rituals can be introduced even before this.
Maintaining a good bedtime routine will help your little one to learn when it’s time to go to sleep, which in turn will come in handy when it comes to teaching them when to fall asleep by themselves.
Create a comfortable sleeping environment
As grown ups, we’re more likely to head to the land of nod if we’re comfortable - and babies are no different! Provide your little one with a comfortable sleeping environment to encourage them to drift off: you’ll want their bedroom to be cool, quiet, and dark. It’s also a good idea to make sure their sleeping surface is comfy and cosy - take a look at our range of British made nursery furniture for some inspiration.
Fall asleep in the crib…
While it may be adorable for your baby to fall asleep in your arms, when they wake up in a different environment (their crib or moses basket for example), they could become scared and find it harder to fall back to sleep. So, after you’ve carried out your usual bedtime routine and your baby is feeling drowsy, it’s time to put them into their crib. For the first few times, they may need a little extra help; this is absolutely fine, as they adjust to snoozing off independently.
...and stay in the crib
Equally, if your baby wakes up in the night, it’s a good idea to let them stay in their crib. Instead of picking them up, try singing or speaking softly to them to help them get used to the feeling of falling back to sleep while still in their crib.
Make sure they aren’t overtired
Don’t forego those day time naps in a bid to make them more tired come bed time; it will likely backfire, resulting in an overtired baby who simply won’t settle. Instead, stick to a consistent nap routine - babies need a lot of sleep, so don’t worry about it affecting their night time snoozing.
While it may seem like a difficult and daunting task at first, rest assured your little one will soon be in a calm and comfortable routine when it comes to bed time.