Quick tips for self soothing

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Self-soothing is a learned skill, we need to teach our children this technique. It is a key skill your baby needs for good sleep.

In the first few months of life, babies will go from needing a lot of external soothing (rocking, shushing etc.), to gradually being able to self sooth. And being able to do this means feeling confident in your own sleeping place and surroundings, so it’s important to build up positive sleep associations.

All children wake in the night, as we sleep in cycles from deep sleep to waking. The difference between ‘good’ sleepers and ‘bad’ sleepers is, the babies who are practiced at self-soothing are the ones that go straight back to sleep.

Aiding your child to sleep means when they wake they won’t be able to self sooth, they will need you to settle them back down. So encouraging self-soothing from early will save a lot of sleepless nights later on.

Here is a quick list to encourage self-soothing:

  1. Put your baby down awake. Look for opportunities to put your baby down awake. A major reason babies wake up and can’t settle back down is because they find themselves in a different sleeping place.
  2. Loosen the feeding-sleep association. Gently remove the breast or bottle at the end of feeding before baby falls asleep.
  3. Become familiar with your baby’s sounds. If your baby is fussing, crying or making any such noise, resist the urge to swoop in. Babies can make a lot of noise on their way to self-soothing.
  4. Daytime independence. Look for moments during the day when your baby is happy to be on their own, this will help to nurture confidence.
  5. Transitional objects. Such as a blankie, soft toy etc. This is something that the baby can form an attachment too and find comfort in.
  6. Tummy time. Encourage tummy time when possible. Once your baby can roll and move (from 4 months) your baby has the skills for getting comfy and sleeping well.

 

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