Helping your baby to fall asleep independently
These tips can help your baby learn to fall asleep without needing you by their side
As lovely as it is when your baby gently falls asleep on you, it isn’t realistic, or safe, for your baby to need to be on you in order to sleep.
If your baby isn’t given opportunity to fall asleep on their own as they grow, it may mean that their night time sleep is disturbed for longer especially if they get particularly unsettled when they wake in the night and realise you’re not there.
So here are some everyday ways to help your baby become comfortable and feel loved and safe when falling asleep alone.
Look out for your baby or toddler’s sleep associations such as needing to be rocked to sleep or fed to fall sleep. Once you’re aware of what they are, you can help to encourage them not to depend on them to fall asleep by gently removing/stopping the association when you notice the signs of them getting visibly sleepy.
Calm before sleep
Ensure everything is calm when you put your baby down to sleep, dim lighting, not too much noise, following a bath and a calm story can be good for your baby to start calming down for sleep.
Work with changes for 2-4 weeks
Don’t expect that in one night your baby will go from being rocked to sleep to being put down in the cot awake and expected to fall asleep alone. Gently introduce less rocking and keep going putting your baby down awake for two to four weeks and in your baby’s own time they will get more comfortable with falling asleep alone.
The important thing is to stay confident and consistent and gently help your baby to adjust to falling asleep on their own - and in their own time.
Babies take time to learn this as they go, so do return to them, pick them up, cuddle them and put them quietly back to sleep when they cry. Your baby will learn the ability to self-soothe but will need opportunity to learn this overtime so don’t let you or them get stressed trying to push things too fast and too soon.