Every parent wants to be there for their baby, especially for the newborns. As the kids grow older, they still look up to you. They seek your approval and want you to be a part of the decision-making process. As a toddler, the language has not developed and they need your support and presence every time. The process goes on for an extended period of time but after some time the babies need to know that they have to sleep on their own. Someone soothing them to nap is not possible at all times. When the baby is 4 months old, he has the ability to soothe himself and fall asleep. But this is not visible because parents keep on pampering their child out of love and some fear quotient. You can nurture him for as long as six months but after that, every baby can fall asleep on their own. Extreme parental guidance is not required.
How do I teach my baby to self-soothe to sleep?
You are tired of finding the appropriate answer on Google, and here we are with the right response.
The idea is not to let your child cry out loud. But, you need to train the baby to sleep individually. First of all, you need to be sure from the beginning that your baby should not get addicted to rocking and cradling. These habits may make things difficult for you in the future. To teach him/her to fall asleep themselves needs a proper routine. You can make them habitual of a routine that will become beneficial for you and the baby too. Here are some simple routine tasks that you can do to teach your baby self-soothing to sleep.
Make a proper routine for sleep
The first and most important thing you have to do is make a routine from the very first month. They can easily adapt a routine at this stage. Some of you might find it weird but babies do have a routine and if you teach them something, they will definitely remember it. A regularly followed bedtime routine will let your baby know that it time to go to sleep. You can tell them short stories or sing a lullaby, or a tight hug and a kiss before bed every day will make them habitual. After some time, they will know that it is time to sleep whenever you sing or tell a story.
Follow the routine for some time
Just making a bedtime routine is not the end. You have to make sure that you follow the routine for at least two months so that your baby’s circadian rhythms follow the same cycle. The best way to do this is to follow this routine during the last months of pregnancy and the first two to three months after birth. Researches have shown that whatever you do during pregnancy is adopted by the baby too. It is best that you follow this bedtime routine prior to the baby’s birth.
Babies are also able to predict time if they go to bed at the same time daily.
A night ritual might help too
You can also have a bedtime ritual. For example, a bath before bed, rocking, or even a short massage would do the trick. Once you follow this every night, your baby will know that it is time to sleep after the bath or any other ritual you choose. Baths before bed are the best. They soothe babies quickly and even the cranky ones can sleep comfortably.
A drowsy baby will fall asleep easily
Never put a sleeping baby in the cradle. If you make your baby fall asleep in your arms, there is no use of following a routine before bed. A drowsy baby will know that he has to fall asleep without you. If your baby is already asleep, there is a significant chance that your baby might wake up and now you will be exhausted by putting the cranky baby to sleep.
Feeding before sleep should not be a habit
Usually, mothers breastfeed their babies before putting them to bed. This habit becomes a bit of trouble when the baby grows a little older. Some babies are on bottle feed before bed too. In both cases, you need to make sure that you feed the baby earlier. Feeding them right before sleep is not a healthy practice. Move the feeding time and shrink the feeding time gradually. Feed her and follow the rest of the routine and put your baby to sleep. It will take time but your baby will become habitual of this.
The other things to be kept in mind
The above-mentioned steps are based on general phenomena. There are obvious chances that your baby might still trouble you for sleep. You do not have to be conscious of this. Some babies take more time to self soothe and fall asleep. You can increase the training period for them. Still, if your baby exhausts you, there is a possibility that he/she has not developed the self-soothing ability. This is no setback because researches are based on an average. Maybe your child might develop this ability after some time.
If you have a real cranky baby, you can move the bedtime earlier. Become a lazy mom and follow the routine slow and steady so that your baby feels drowsy yet comfortable when you put him/her to bed.
Some general tips for the moms
This was just the routine you can follow. Here are some general tips:
- Never feel tired or exhausted by the bedtime routine you have scheduled. This will be helpful in the long-run.
- Some babies take more time than usual. Have patience!
- Stick to the routine every day. There should not be any off because babies can easily get off the track.
- Some days will be rough and some will be easy going. Maybe the sick day will be harder than others. You do not have to lose control and make sure you calm the baby.
- You can go through structured sleeping methods when the baby is asleep and if you have the time. This will make things easier for you when the baby grows old.
Self-soothing skill is important for every baby. Not just the babies but adults need to learn this skill too. If you train your baby from an early stage, things will be easier for him in the future. Just make sure that you follow a calming routine that is easy-to-follow for you and the baby too.