Helping Your Baby Fall Asleep More Easily

By | November 11, 2017

As every new parent knows, sleep is a precious commodity when your baby is little. Figuring out the ways to help your baby fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer will help during those long nights.

There are two major schools of thought about helping your baby get to bed: parent soothing and self-soothing.

Parent soothing occurs when a baby is ready to go to sleep; a parent or other caregiver helps the baby make the transition wakefulness to sleep using various methods. Some methods of parent soothing are rocking or singing a child to sleep or allowing the baby to nurse or eat until they are tired enough to sleep.

Methods of parent soothing can help the baby bond with parents, building trust between parents and babies. It can also help babies to realize that sleeping is good, comfortable and safe. However, if parents choose to use only parent soothing methods, the baby may become dependant on the parent or other outside sources to fall asleep. This makes it harder for baby to fall back to sleep if awakened during the night.

Self-soothing is when the baby is put to bed before he or she is asleep allowing the baby to sooth him or herself to sleep. Parents can offer comfort occasionally, but they allow the baby to get to bed alone. Some methods of self-soothing include allowing a baby to cry him or herself to sleep, using a pacifier or swinging to help the baby to encourage sleep.

Methods of self-soothing help babies become more independent and sleep without the help of external sources. Babies who learn to sooth themselves often are less fussy when they wake in the night, knowing that they can get back to sleep on their own. However, parents have less of an opportunity to bond with their children during sleeping time. Self-soothing can also be hard on some parents due to the fact that parents often have to just let their baby cry. Some babies with more dependent personalities might not learn to self-sooth.

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Remember that every child is different and prefers different things to sleep. Parents’ schedules and personalities are also different. Sticking with a schedule though will help the baby realize it is time to fall asleep and allow the baby’s body time to relax and sleep easier no matter what method is used. Whether choosing a self-soothing or parent-soothing method or a blend of the two methods, one thing to keep in mind is to be flexible. What might have worked one night to help a baby fall asleep, may not work the next night. Be patient; sleep will come.

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