You may have heard that the key to good sleep for your baby is allowing him to fall asleep on his own. When babies are newborns, most parents expect that they’ll need to help baby get to sleep, whether that’s by rocking, walking, bouncing, nursing, bottle feeding, or any other prop! However, as your baby gets older and continues having regular wakeups, you may wonder, “When will my baby be old enough to fall asleep on his own and sleep through the night?”
First, let’s talk a little bit about why it’s important for a baby to learn to fall asleep independently. Every person, babies included, wake on average 2-6 times per night. If a child only knows how to fall asleep when she is being rocked or fed, every time she wakes she will cry out and signal that she needs to get back to sleep, and therefore she needs to be rocked or fed. If a child knows how to fall asleep independently, when she wakes in the middle of the night and doesn’t have a true need- hunger or a wet diaper- she will know how to fall back asleep.
So, how do you help your little one to learn to fall asleep independently?
If your baby is under four months old, the key is to put all the right habits and environment in place. Make sure your baby’s schedule is age-appropriate, that he’s going down for naps at regular intervals, that his sleep environment is cool, dark and calm, and that you use tools such as white noise to help set the mood for sleep. Then, you can lay baby down drowsy but awake and see if he will accept falling asleep on his own. If your newborn cries, don’t force anything. Comfort and help him get to sleep. But it is worth trying regularly- even just once a day- to lay him down drowsy but awake to see if he will accept falling asleep on his own.
If your baby is four months or older, it may be time to employ a method of sleep training that allows you to put your baby down awake and teaches her to fall asleep without props. The important thing to know as a parent is that you have choices. There are many methods of sleep training to choose from to fit your baby’s age, temperament, your parenting style, and any other factors into consideration.
A sleep consultant can be an invaluable tool during the sleep training process because they can pinpoint exactly which method will be a good fit for your family and walk you through it step by step.
For more information on how I can guide your family in this process, click here to book a consultation!
“Violet is truly amazing. 2 weeks- and our baby (8 months old) is sleeping straight thru at night between 8-10 hours and doubled his nap lengths (45min naps to 1.5+), as well as learned to self soothe and put self to sleep. (huge!!!) my husband and I can not thank her enough… we FINALLY feel like we can become “normal” again. Words do not describe our gratitude.” ~ Jen, Wisconsin
“My baby girl was sleeping in my bed, she is 12 weeks old. My back hurt and she nursed all night long just sucking for comfort. She was also a very very fussy baby, but after sleep training it’s like I have a new happy baby! She now sleeps in her own crib in her own room and will only wake up maybe once to eat, if not she sleeps through the night!! It’s amazing. I never thought it could be done and I was so nervous about it but after a few nights it got easier and easier. Best money I have ever spent, my husband and I have our bed back and everyone sleeps happy plus we all actually get sleep now!! Thank you Violet.”~ Sarah, San Diego CA
Thank you so much for your help!! My 15 week old had only ever been nursed to sleep and this was becoming a problem. I was getting so stressed out because I had no idea how to get him off of this sleep association and there was so much conflicting information out there. It was also really important to me that we have a gentle approach to doing this because it literally hurts my soul when he cries. Thanks to your plan, he is falling asleep wonderfully at bedtime and even naptime, without being nursed to sleep since we started it. I appreciate your guidance along the way via daily emails and tweaks to his plan based on his individual progress.~Kristen, New York