Encouraging Self Settling At Sleep Time
The first few months with a new baby can be a relatively sleepless time for all involved. But, don’t give up hope of sleeping until your baby turns 21! You can encourage self settling to help your baby become an independent sleeper.
Once your baby is capable of self-soothing, they may able to clock 6-8 hours sleep a night (depending on the child), and get themselves back off to sleep if they wake up!
Sound good? We bet!
Here are our best tips for encouraging self settling at bedtime:
Encouraging Self Settling At Sleep Time
Set A Bedtime Routine
Yeah, that’s what everyone keeps saying – but how?! Sometimes it seems no matter how hard you try, your little one has their own completely nonsensical routine that is forever at odds with yours. And in the very beginning, that is very true. But, with a bit of time and perseverance, you can get your baby into a more parent-friendly routine.
A good place to start is by introducing relaxing activities before bedtime. A bit of reading, a warm bath, some quiet time in the armchair with the TV turned off, and a snuggle with their favourite comforter - a Gobstopperz of course!
If you get into the same routine every night, it signals to your baby that it is time for sleep and helps them feel a little more at ease as they go off to bed.
Put Baby To Bed When They Are (Just) Awake
After your bedtime routine, you will hopefully see the tired signs. Put your little one down once they start to get sleepy, but before they are actually asleep. This helps them to associate going to sleep with their crib, instead of associating it with being held, rocked or cuddled by a caregiver.
This association will mean they are more likely to be able to self-soothe when they wake up in their crib and you aren’t around.
Night vs. Day
A very young baby doesn’t know that there is a difference between night and day. Which is why they can seem to drop off to sleep at any point in the day or night.
Gradually, they will learn the difference, but they still might not understand that nighttime is for sleeping. You can emphasise the different times of day to help them learn, and to associate sleep with night time.
Keep baby’s room dark and quiet at night. A great way to achieve this is installing blackout blinds in the room - they cut out the daylight, but also any bright lights outside at night. Maintaining darkness might also mean using a dull or dim light to tend to them instead of turning on the main light source if they need you during the night.
When you are tending to the baby at night, be calm, quiet and soothing. Don’t encourage toys or play at night, either. Save this for during the light hours of the day so they learn to distinguish playtime from sleep time.
Consider Daytime Sleep
Following on from the above point, a big part of teaching a baby the night vs. day difference is by monitoring their sleep during the daytime. Of course, young children will need some daytime sleep. But, if they have too much, or they take naps at the wrong time then it can impact their nighttime rest.
Their overnight sleep should be long and restorative, so ensure their daytime naps allow this. You will carve out your own routine that works, but as a guide, children under a year should have 2 daytime naps, and after a year they can drop down to one. It can be a test of patience and perseverance to strike the balance, as an overtired or undertired baby might find it harder to get off to sleep at night.
For instant & portable blackout blinds
Introduce A Snuggly
There are many reasons that a child will wake in the night, but one of the most common is that they have reached the end of one sleep cycle and are trying to transition to the next. If a child is unable to master the art of self settling, then they may call out for you at these times. They may descide they need you as they can’t reach their dummy, they are lonely, or they can’t quite get back to sleep by themselves.
A snuggly (like a Gobstopperz) can help with all of these issues. By attaching your baby’s soother to the Gobstopperz, they will be able to locate it next to them in the cot easier and put it back in their own mouth without you needing to do so. The soft, minky fabric is soothing and comforting for your baby. Plus, you can go one step further and trap your own smell in it (by wearing it under your top for a few hours before bedtime), reminding your baby that you are close by. You can check out the range in our store now!
Teaching your baby to self settle at sleep time can be a long process. You might have good days and you might have some not so good ones. But consistency and perseverance will help. And, if there seems to be something else going on with your baby, then there is no harm in seeking advice from a sleep consultant either! We highly recommend http://www.serenesleep.co.nz