In the first 6 months of life, it is important to respond to your baby’s needs. Night waking is necessary for the infant to get enough food for their growth and development. Sleeping through the night is a goal that comes with time and patience. Parents lead their children in how to self-soothe as they are developmentally ready and no longer need night feedings. When can a baby self soothe? Many babies can begin self-soothing around 3 to 4 months by sucking their fingers, rocking, or curling up into the fetal position. By 6 months of age, most infants can sleep 8 hours or more at a time without feeding at night. This is the best baby self-soothe age.
What is self-soothing?
Self-soothing is the process of a child learning to calm themselves down to be able to fall asleep or return to sleep when waking in the middle of the night. It is only SELF-soothing if the child learns the tools to meet their own need and does not rely on the parent to intervene. Babies who can self-soothe sleep for longer periods and have longer total sleep times at night.
How does a baby learn to self-soothe?
When teaching a baby to self soothe, parents can help by creating a routine. Creating a simple bedtime routine - such as a bath, a song, or storytime - signals that it is time to sleep. Avoid ending your bedtime routine with a feeding. This makes the parent necessary for the child to fall asleep. This is the opposite of self-soothing. When the baby wakes in the middle of the night, they will require a repeat performance of the feeding to settle again. Babies who self-soothe fall back to sleep on their own with little or no crying. They may wake, briefly fuss, and then fall back to sleep.
Baby Self Soothe Techniques and Tips
The best self-soothing techniques for babies are repetitive, calming, and comforting. Using a Woolino sleep bag as part of your bedtime routine is a comforting cue that it is time to wind down for bed. Studies have shown that babies sleeping in merino wool settle more quickly, cry less, sleep longer, feed better, and gain weight faster. Making a Woolino Four Season Ultimate Sleep Bag part of your bedtime routine can help teach your baby how to settle without crying.
When teaching a baby to self soothe, an important step is emphasizing the difference between day and night. Parents can help their child understand that night is a good time to sleep by:
- Keeping the room dimly lit and quiet while preparing for bed.
- Not turning on the lights when you respond to your baby’s nighttime needs.
- Not playing with the baby at night.
- Speaking in a quiet calm voice only when necessary at night.
- Providing nighttime feedings in the bedroom.
Another tip for teaching your baby to self soothe is putting them to bed drowsy but awake. This will allow them time to settle on their own.
Ultimately, time and maturity typically lead most children to a place of self-soothing of their own design. Parents should always be ready to meet their children where they are and offer them the love and support necessary for that season in a child’s development. Woolino sleep bags make every season soothing.