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Three Ways to Teach Baby to Self-Soothe

teach baby to self-sootheIt’s no secret – keeping a baby happy and comfortable at all times is not always easy and the only way a baby lets us know something is wrong is by crying. Babies will cry for various reasons, but figuring out exactly what that reason may be is the difficult part. When the crying starts, you will need to know how to soothe your child as best as you can, but it’s also important to allow your baby to learn self-soothing skills. Here are three ways you can teach your baby to self-soothe.

1. Create a Soothing Routine

While you may not be able to directly teach your child to soothe itself at first, you can set the proper environment to allow them to learn as they go. This all starts with a habitual bedtime routine or as what child sleep consultants like to call a “soothing routine.” With a routine, your child will become accustomed to it as they begin to grow and develop.

An important factor in creating a soothing routine is to choose a single bedtime each night to set your baby’s internal clock which they will get used to.  Also, the preparation for bed should include a couple consistent activities as well, which can include things like taking a warm bath, dimming the lights, and cuddling a little.

As you begin to go through the bedtime soothing routine, baby’s body will begin to respond and become drowsy. If you’re consistent, you’ll find your child start to fall asleep as you begin.

2. Drift Away

While your child may not be able to fall asleep at night without the comfort of your arms around them, you need to keep your main goal in mind:  teaching your child to self-soothe. However, with the help and soothing properties of the Slumber Sleeper, your child gets the advantage of feeling like they are being held while at the same time learning to sleep independently. Children need to know that you aren’t going to be able to stay right by their side at all hours of the night and by giving them the soothing comfort of the Slumber Sleeper, they do fall asleep quicker and sleep for longer periods of time. Parents no longer need to play the distance game to help with separation as the child goes to bed already feeling secure and held. Children happily fall asleep on their own paving the way to a healthier and more independent sleep training.

Wherever possible, avoid letting your child fall asleep in your arms. Look for “sleepy cues” to know when baby is tired in order to place him or her in the crib to fall asleep alone. You do not want to wait until baby is overtired.  Some sleepy cues are:

  • rubbing eyes,
  • slight quieting,
  • rooting or wanting to nurse,
  • asking for a bottle, pacifier or lovey,
  • gazing off,
  • decreased activity,
  • sucking is weaker or slower,
  • quieter,
  • disinterested in surroundings,
  • eyes less focused,
  • yawning,
  • less movement of arms and legs,
  • droopy eyelids,
  • thumb sucking, and
  • pulling ears.

If baby cries after you place them in the crib, use shushing sounds to soothe baby and leave the room to help them learn to self-soothe. The Baby Sleep Whisperer displays this well in this video helping baby sleep in her own crib. This will prevent your child from becoming conditioned to fall asleep only in your arms.

3. Swaddle and Then Wean from the Swaddle

Swaddling in the “hands over heart” position is the natural position baby is used to while in the womb. In this position, baby can use their hands and fingers to self-sooth and settle themselves down. Further, the fetal tuck position is soothing to the child as its is the natural position of infants and helps your baby to thrive and grow strong. The Slumber Swaddle is one of the few swaddle blankets on the market that not only offers the hands to heart placement, but it further allows self soothing or finger sucking if needed. Being able to use a swaddle blanket that gives your child these soothing qualities is not only fundamental but it gives parents peace of mind and sleep as well.

When baby begins to roll, it’s no longer safe to swaddle. Some parents dread the transition, but weaning baby from swaddling is a big part of self-soothing since baby is able to move freely, interact with their surroundings, and have their hands free to move around. To help baby transition out of swaddling, use the Slumber Sleeper™ sleep system to continue to provide safety, security and comfort for baby, further it allows for arms-free, safe sleep for children.

safe sleep solutionWritten by Joanna von Yurt, Co-Founder and CEO of Swanling Innovations Inc.

Joanna von Yurt is the mother of three intelligent, sensitive, and compassionate girls (who all want to be mommies when they grow up). She is first AND foremost a mom! Professionally, however, she is an accountant, controller and serial entrepreneur.

Joanna has a degree in Psychology from Harvard University with an emphasis in child psychology. She worked as an infant caregiver for 12 years and interned as a Child Life Specialist, family/social therapist, and assisted in clinical studies involving children’s personality and social psychology.

Joanna has a lifelong passion for childcare and child safety. She enjoys sharing her experiences with other parents about sleep routines, attachment parenting, safe sleep guidelines, and children’s natural sleep patterns. Her company, Swanling Innovations, is committed to producing modern, safe and innovative products that meet the expectations of discerning parents. The Slumber Sleeper™ is a 4-in 1 safe sleep solution (mattress protector, flat sheet, fitted sheet and sleep sack all in one) designed to help keep your baby safe, warm and centered.

Joanna always says that a well-rested child and well-rested parents add up to a happy family!

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