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When Should You Start Helping Your Infant To Sleep On Their Own

When should you start helping your infant to sleep on their own? The answer is around 4 months. I say around because every child is different and you really should determine what is best for you, your family and your child. So if your child is 6 months and you’re reading this it’s okay you can start at 6 months.  This is just a guide to give you an indication of when you can start.

Please also keep in mind two things. One whenever you are working at teaching your child a new skill you want to do what is to gradually build the skill so that the baby will be able to do it eventual and also has the time the need, how ever long they need to accomplish that skill. In Early Childhood Education we call this scaffolding. Just like those scaffolds that you see on construction sites that allow the workers to reach higher levels. You also want to give your child the opportunity to gradually reach that more advanced place that they are trying to acquire. Second be patient, knowing that this will take some time and not happen overnight will help you to be patient.

So you are building skill upon skill, little by little. Meaning you don’t expect your baby to be able to sleep on their own in one night or two, three or four nights. As my Ballet teacher used to say, “It’s a process not an event.” So prepare yourself by managing your expectations. Be patient and expect a few tears. Be prepared to assure your baby with a soothing voice.

WHEN TO PLACE PUT THEM IN THEIR CRIB

Don’t allow your baby to fall asleep on you. Once they do that that’s it. As soon as you put them down they will wake up. Then comes the dance of you trying to console them and get them quiet again so you can get them back to sleep and lay them down only to have them wake back up again. This will cause anxiety and frustration for both you and the baby. Your intention and desire is to help them to learn to go to sleep on their own.

Part of learning to go to sleep on their own is learning how to comfort themselves and soothe themselves and know that they will be okay and that you are still their mommy or daddy and that all is good with the world. Their will be some crying to accomplish this because they are babies and this is how they communicate and this is a new thing for them.

So your job is to be the comforter and soother in a way that empowers them to be able to do it by themselves. In building this skill you will be by their side rubbing their tummy and talking to them in a soothing voice. You will look at their stomach instead of their eyes. The reason for this is looking them in their eyes will have the opposite effect of what you want. This is because looking into a baby’s eyes stimulates them. You don’t want to stimulate them. You want to calm them down and sort of lull them to sleep.

So to recap you don’t want the baby to be asleep when you put them into the bed. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is wide awake ready to rubble and 10 is knocked out cold, you want your baby to be around a 7 or 8 before you put them into the crib.

 

HOW TO BEGIN

Begin by placing your baby in the crib on their backs. It’s best if you have a ritual that you do or will do every night. So think about this ahead of time. What worked for my daughter and I was to feed her, then a bath and then a bedtime story. I found that it helped to have this ritual even when she got to be a toddler and preschooler. We just added more things like getting a drink of water, going to the bathroom, talking about her day and then the story was the last thing before lights out.

Once you place them on their backs you can sing them a song or read a story or just talk to them. Tell them that you love them and think they are so wonderful. Tell them how they are just growing so wonderfully and beautifully. That they are going to have a wonderful and good night sleep and that mommy or daddy will be going to their room while they sleep in theirs. Tell them they are going to do just great and everything will be fine. Tell them this in a sing song type of voice using words, and make it sound soothing.

Then leave slowly, reassuring them that they are going to be fine, have a great sleep, grow big and strong etc. If you are met with crying keep reassuring them where you are. If it escalates slowly make your way back to them telling them Mommy or Daddy is here. Keep reassuring them that they are okay and will be able to do this. Remember look at their belly not their eyes. Then try leaving again.

Please share with us how you successfully taught your child to sleep on their own. We’d love to hear what worked for you. Please also share this with anyone that is facing this challenge. I will be writing more on this subject in later posts, so please come back.  Have a great day! :-)

 

 

5 Responses to “When Should You Start Helping Your Infant To Sleep On Their Own”

  1. My friend needs this post! BAD! Going to have to share this with her 😉

    • D'TaRelle F. Tullis says:

      LOL that’s funny Ashley. Thank you so much and please do share it with her. :-)

  2. We moved our son into his crib in his own room when he was 7 weeks old. A few nights after we moved him he started to sleep through the night. Having him in a cradle in our room was messing with his sleep because we would keep waking him up by tossing and turning in bed. He’s also been quite good at self soothing. I’ve tried really hard from the very start not to feed him to sleep, or rock him to sleep and then try to put him down to sleep. He almost always gets put into bed while still awake, but drowsy, and we have a white noise machine for him that helps him to drift off to sleep.

    One thing that I do really think helped us promote good sleeping with him was getting him dressed everyday right from the start. I know that might seem strange, but it helped him switch his night and day around the right way when he was very young, and it’s another part of the “bed time” routine to help signal it’s bedtime to get changed into his sleeper. If your baby wears sleepers all day too they don’t get that “bed time” cue by changing clothes.

    • D'TaRelle F. Tullis says:

      Sarah!!!!! Thank you so much for stopping by. That is so wonderful that your baby was sleeping in his own crib by 7 weeks!!!!!! That is the coolest thing EVER!!!!! I also love the idea of changing him from his sleeper to his daytime clothes right away. This doesn’t seem weird at all, it’s brilliant. That is so great that you new to put him down when he was drowsy. Boy are you a quick learner! I love the white noise machine idea too. Did you have a sleep training course of read a book or you just knew all of this intuitively? Thanks so much for your comments and please come again. :-)

  3. […] and can relate that to falling asleep at the age of six months. If you will recall in my post on when you should start teaching them this skill it’s  at around 4 months. I also mentioned that you don’t expect them […]

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