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Teaching your baby to self soothe

Teaching a baby to self soothe is a marathon, not a sprint. If self soothing were easy, everyone would be doing it, right? What if I told you that in as little as one week you could start to see some incredible results (I’m talking like 7+ hour stretches at night)? Most doctors will agree that babies are able to self soothe by the age of 5 months, this is why we start to see longer naps too, however some babies will need some help learning to self soothe. As a first time mom, I believe that being sleep deprived, was just part of parenthood, and let me tell you I lived the phrase “Tired as a Mother” for the first few months. It’s not that I hadn’t tried to do some of my own research, I got my hands on all copies of baby books- swearing that little ones would be sleeping 12+ hours a night as a newborn, and spent endless hours on Google trying to figure out “how to help my baby self soothe” only for it to never really work.I realized I had created the habit of feeding my baby boy to sleep for naps/bedtime and I wasn’t giving him the opportunity to practice doing it on his own. So here are some ways you can start teaching your baby how to self soothe! Get the green from your pediatrician Nobody knows your baby better than you and your doctor, so ask them how long babe is able to go at night in-between feeds. Some will give the green light for babes to go until they wake for a feed, others will recommend still waking every 3-4 hours overnight. Set the stage

Set your babys sleep environment so that they can be most successful with their sleep. Make sure the room is as dark as possible. Any bit of light coming through can be disturbing to our little ones and signal to their brain it’s time to wake- when it fact it is not. Make sure to have a sound machine running for the entire duration of sleep. It can go up to 50-60 decibels in sound. If you’re unsure how loud it is, you can download an app to test it out! Lastly, make sure the temperature is set between 68-72 degrees F. If you’re using a sleep sack, remember to adjust the TOG according to the season, or dress your baby is temperature controlled pajamas. Follow age appropriate Wake Windows I can’t tell you how many families come to me for help, and we find that baby is unable to self soothe because they are under/over tired. If you’re unsure about what window to use, find the average for your little ones age, start on the lower end and increase time in 15 min increments as needed!

Create a calming routine

Nap/bedtime routines are SO important- and it’s never too early to start with your baby! It doens’t have to be anything overly complicated, it just needs to be calming and consistent.Example nap routine: diaper change, swaddle/sleep sack, read a quick book, sound machine on, lights off, lay down AWAKE. Example bedtime routine: Bath, diaper lotion, pajamas, full feed, read books, sing song, sound machine on, lights off, lay down AWAKE. Remove any sleep props Remember practice makes progress, so the more you can practice putting your baby down totally calm and awake the more time they have to practice self soothing. Instead of feeding to sleep, move the feed up earlier in the routine to ensure babes belly is full, but that he/she is not falling asleep on the breast or bottle! Encourage independent sleep Even with following the steps above, it can still be a bit of a struggle getting your little one to successfully fall asleep and stay asleep on their own. Try to avoid transferring your baby once they’re asleep. The way your baby falls asleep is what they’re going to expect when they wake. So if they are falling asleep by being rocked in your arms, when they wake, they’ll be looking for that same response. Instead try some soothing techniques to help them fall back!

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