How to Teach a Baby to Self Soothe: Baby Self Soothing Techniques

Learn Self Soothing Techniques to Help Your Baby Sleep Better & Quicker

If you’ve been wondering how to teach your baby to self-soothe, chances are you’re ready to explore the idea of sleep training. Once your baby is between 4-6 months old, they are likely ready to self-soothe which basically means they will be able to regulate their mood, and ideally sleep for longer stretches of time.

There are a lot of sleep training methods to choose from, all of which give your baby some self soothing techniques. This means that when baby wakes up in the middle of the night, they learn to fall back asleep on their own, with little or no crying, by soothing – or comforting - themselves back to sleep. For some this means letting your baby cry it out, or it’s that you offer a comforting touch rather than picking them up to soothe them. You may even decide to inch your way out of their room, further and further each night, until they realize they can manage without you.

In teaching your baby how to self soothe, they learn that they can in fact, get to sleep on their own. This is an important life skill that babies need to be taught. Once they learn how to self soothe, it will likely mean that you, too, can sleep longer and better. Keep reading for some FAQ’s on how to get baby to self soothe so that all of you can get some zzz’s.

What is self soothing behavior?

Keep in mind that when it comes to the best self soothing techniques for baby, that essentially means that you are training your baby to fall asleep on his own, even when he wakes in the middle of the night. During that first year, it’s perfectly typical for babies to wake during the night, and often. At around 4 to 6 months, sleep training is recommended to help a baby learn to self soothe. Self soothing is a life skill that really is taught this young and it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s what helps us during times of stress. It’s how we learn to relax. So when your baby learns to self sooth in infancy, it will also help him well into toddlerhood and beyond.

What are different self soothing techniques?

When it comes to teaching a baby self soothing techniques, it’s important to do your research! Like everything baby-related, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are a lot of options when it comes to sleep training and/or how to self soothe baby. There’s the Ferber method, cry it out (CIO), the chair method, pick up/put down, and more! So no matter which method you try, be consistent!

That goes for your nighttime and naptime routine, too! Start with a simple sleep time routine and use it for all sleep. It could look something like this:

  • Give a warm bath
  • Darken the sleep space (close the curtains, soften the lights)
  • Read a book
  • Play soft music
  • Feed
  • Snuggle
  • Put baby in his crib tired but awake

Do the same thing every night, at the same time every night and establish this as your sleep routine to encourage better sleep for longer stretches of time.

Why is self-soothing important?

As funny as it sounds when speaking about your baby, self soothing is important because it teaches baby that he can be somewhat independent by the time he reaches his first birthday. That means no help from mom/dad/caregiver when he wakes in the middle of the night or even has a hard time falling asleep at the onset. By learning how to self sooth, baby learns that he can regulate his mood whether it’s falling back to sleep or sharing his toys as he gets older.

When should a baby be able to self-soothe to sleep?

Once your baby is between 4-6 months old, they are likely ready to self-soothe and sleep for longer stretches of time. See above and below for advice on how to teach self soothing.

What are the advantages of self soothing?

With sleep training, you’re giving your baby the tools to self sooth. That means not just falling asleep, but also falling back asleep on his own… which hopefully means that you, too, can sleep longer and better than when he was more dependent on you to help get to sleep.

What are some disadvantages of self soothing?

Sleep training has been studied for decades and contrary to some belief, research shows that there are no emotional disorders or bonding issues that occur later in life due to poor sleep training or methods of self soothing.

Sleep training, like anything that seems challenging at first, takes persistence and patience. These are things that new parents are sometimes in short supply of! While some critics may claim that sleep training can cause baby undo distress, the benefits of a good night’s sleep can’t be denied, and this really does take some practice.

Some sleep training methods have a gentler approach than others and seem to encourage healthy parental bonding and independence. But every family has to decide what works best for them – thankfully, there are plenty of options out there to choose from.

How long does it take to train a baby to self soothe?

When done correctly, sleep training can be done over a 3-4 night period on average. For some families, however, sleep training takes weeks and changes again as new milestones are reached. Typically, the first few nights of sleep training can be difficult as baby learns to self soothe, fall asleep, and/or stay asleep independently. But once your little one understands that quality sleep is possible without the additional snuggling, and rocking they’ve become so accustomed to, it’s time for everyone under the same roof to enjoy the benefits of better sleep!

Is self soothing the best way to get a baby to sleep?

By the time your baby is 6 months old, he’s likely able to sleep for a longer stretch without waking up for a middle of the night feeding. This is a great time to encourage him to self soothe. A pacifier may help, so might waiting a few more minutes before going in to soothe him. If you feel that you need help in figuring out the best sleep practices for your baby, by all means, talk to your pediatrician or a sleep consultant.

What else can help a baby sleep better?

A great tool to help baby sleep better is the Dreamland Baby line of products, all designed with better sleep in mind. Whether it’s your newborn who loves our weighted sleep swaddle, or your toddler who prefers to sleep in our weighted sleep sack, our products are designed to help baby feel calm, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. The gentle weight naturally reduces stress and increases relaxation through deep-pressure stimulation to give baby feelings of security and comfort - just like a hug! This typically results in longer stretches of quality sleep for baby… which means everyone gets a good night’s sleep, too!

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Dream Weighted Sleep Swaddle, 0-6 months (2nd Gen)