Imagine putting your baby down to sleep awake and she just dozes off, completely on her own. You don’t have to do any work. Just lay her down, and walk out of the room as “self soothes”. She doesn’t cry, whine, or get upset, just peacefully falls asleep. You would probably tell me that I’m nuts, and that this is impossible, right? I don’t blame you. I didn’t think it was possible either. When I had my first baby I just nursed and rocked her into deep sleep every single night…for hours on end! I had no idea how to get a baby to fall asleep on her own. But now both of my girls fall asleep that way. I helped them learn to self soothe and fall asleep on their own, and this is exactly what they do every night. No crying, no fighting. The best part of teaching a baby to fall asleep on their own, is that they are able to fall back asleep in the middle of the night, in between sleep cycles. Meaning no unnecessary nighttime wakings.
Getting a baby to fall asleep on their own is an amazing accomplishment, that will solve most, if not all of your baby’s sleep troubles. However, it is probably the hardest part of sleep training.
One of the most common questions I get as a sleep consultant is “How do I get my baby to fall asleep on their own?“. This question can be tricky to answer because there are many different components to teaching your baby to sleep well. Age appropriate sleep schedules, knowing how to respond to wakings, which wakings are due to hunger vs comfort and other important components all factor in teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own.
Consistency with an appropriate approach is also key. Trial and error may lead to lots of crying. I recommend picking a method that you are comfortable with, and have a really good step by step plan to follow to avoid unnecessary tears. If you need help with this please take a look at my Sleep Packages Here–> I would be glad to help!
My breastfed baby is now sleeping through the night for 12 hours and his naps have greatly improved thanks to Violet and her customized plan! After 7 days, my usually fussy baby is smiling, cooing, meeting milestones and I actually heard him laugh for the first time yesterday–I think I’m a better mom because I’m also getting some much needed rest. It’s amazing what a little sleep can do! I will be telling all of my other mom friends about Violet and plan to give her services as a gift to all of my pregnant gal-pals. ~Christine, Canada
Teaching a baby to fall asleep on their own, is such a great feeling. Especially when you are finally able to lay your baby down without a struggle. You get to enjoy a happy bedtime routine together, give your baby kisses and cuddles, and she drifts off to sleep without a peep. I don’t think there’s any better feeling when you’re a parent that has been struggling with getting your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep. So here are some of my best tips for helping your baby fall asleep on his or her own.
- Solid Bedtime Routine. Make sure you have a consistent bedtime routine for your baby. Same routine, same time each night. This is very important, I can’t stress it enough. You can’t expect a baby to cooperate when her sleep schedule is all over the place, or the routine is always different. A consistent routine gives your baby predicability. When your baby knows what to expect, she is more likely to accept it.
- Move Feeding or Nursing. If your baby requires a feeding until she is asleep or is waking for constant comfort feedings, you are going to want to break that sleep association. So what you want to do is move the feeding to the beginning of your bedtime routine. This way your baby has the opportunity to fall asleep on her own and not in your arms. If your routine was jammies-book-feed. It should now be feed-jammies-book.
- Put Your Baby Down “Drowsy but Awake”. I know you have probably heard this a million times, but this is really a biggie. Laying your baby down awake is not easy and you will have to follow that up with some sleep training methods. Making sure your baby is drowsy but awake before you lay her down, is very important.
- Pick a Sleep Training Method and Stick to it. It’s always a good idea to have a plan to stick to and a method that you are comfortable with. This way you are not trying one thing, then another, and completely confusing your baby. Inconsistency can lead to many, many, tears. Being consistent and following through with your plan is the only way to be successful.
- Get Help When Needed. If you have tried different methods, and nothing is working, it may be a good idea to get some help. Some parents need a step by step plan, and there is nothing wrong with that. Getting help from someone that knows what they are doing and is able to provide you with guidance and support, is invaluable when it comes to teaching your baby to sleep well. If you would like more individualized help based on your baby’s unique situation, I offer Personalized Sleep Plans and support. Teaching a baby to self soothe and fall asleep on his or her own is one of my specialties!
- Stay With Your Baby. Some babies feel more at ease knowing Mommy or Daddy is right by their side. Since your baby needs to learn the skills to self soothe and fall sleep on her own, she may fall asleep easier, if you are by her side. Don’t worry, once your baby gets better at falling asleep on her own, you won’t have to stay with her at all. You will be able to lay her down after bedtime routine, and she will smile and drift off to sleep.
- Don’t Give Up! Many times parents see how difficult and overwhelming the first couple nights can be. They give up, and don’t get to see that it gets easier. Each night is just a little bit better than the previous. As you progress, it gets better and better. By the end of the week your baby will most likely be falling asleep on her own in under 5 minutes. Even if it takes 2 weeks, that’s a great accomplishment. Don’t give up! Here are some sleep training stories from parents like yourself, that didn’t think it was possible either, and now the entire family is sleeping well.
Remember that you don’t have to stop nursing, rocking, or cuddling your baby, to teach her to self soothe and fall asleep on her own. In fact I encourage an abundance of that. You can incorporate nursing, rocking, or anything else your baby enjoys into your bedtime routine.
If you need more advice, or a step by step plan of how to get baby to self soothe and fall asleep on his or her own, please take a look at my Baby Sleep Consultation Packages–>