Baby Hints & Tips

Teach baby to self settle

Teach baby to self settleMy 3.5 month old always needs to be rocked to sleep, will suck constantly on his thumb, boob or fingers but refuses a dummy. Would like tips on how to teach baby to self settle as he gets so restless if we don’t help him to sleep.

  • I wish I had some advice. my son is exactly the same age and doing exactly the same. only problem is his fingers don’t soothe him, they seem to keep him from crying but also from sleeping. so thank you for asking about this I will be following for some tips Claire
  • when my bub was 3.5 months old she pretty much BFed to sleep and rejected the dummy as well… I just rolled with that but was concerned too… shes coming upto 9 months now and shes been self soothing for a while now… it just kind of happened (although I did have to be firm and pop her in the cot and let her cry it out a little [in the time it took to hang washing out]to get the daytime naps working), so maybe dont stress to much about helping him to sleep for now, as you might find he improves progessively as he gets older Alexis
  • I rang Ngala with my first born at this age wanting to self settle and back then (he’s nearly 3 now) they said they didn’t recommend trying to get them to self settle until a minimum of 12 weeks, but now that I have a second bub (now 5 months old) I just think they’re still so young to even grasp it, but it’s all entirely up to you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for self settling but hell, it’s hard work!! I started off feeding to sleep with this one but now he’s more alert he’s not falling asleep after a feed like he used to so what I’ve been doing is I rock him until drowsy and I put him down and pat his bottom for a bit (likes to lay on his side) and then walk away. Sometimes I don’t need to go back in, he’ll toss and turn for a few minutes and then he’s good, other times I pick him back up, resettle and put him back down and repeat. Also say to him, “it’s time for sleep” so that when he actually understands me he’ll know what I’m saying. Good luck. Sleep is a hard nut to crack!! Emma
  • hes still so little and the truth is you will possibly need to help him settle for some time ….. If breastfeeding feed to sleep if it works for you and try to remember that he will only need your help for such a short time give him good consistent sleep cues and follow his needs as this will help him feel trust and this will help him learn to settle more easily cherish these moments of sleepy snuggles they end far too soon and you will miss them I keep telling myself this with the now walking 10mth old as I remember from Mr 5 Simone
  • download the wonder weeks, you can take it all with a grain of salt. But I had the same issue. She was self settling before, but then for over a month stopped. It was all in line with a “leap” which is like a stage they go through . She’s now almost 6mnths and I have her back self settling. I did pat & shush to get her back into it Amanda
  • I truly believe that you cannot make a baby “self-soothe” before they are ready. They are only little for such a short time, and if my baby needs to be rocked to sleep then I will do it. I find with all things sleep she progresses at her own pace – one day she just lay down and went to sleep and no longer needed to be rocked. You cannot create bad habits at such a young age. Babies don’t have a sense of object permanence until around six months of age, so leaving them to sleep alone can be distressing and make them think that they are abandoned. There is a lot of research showing that you can not really teach a baby to self soothe as although they may not be crying they may still be highly stressed. Being rocked to sleep sounds like what your bubba needs right now, but it will pass eventually Erin
  • You’re expecting too much too young. Try self settling in another 1-3 months Melissa
  • My 3.5 month old wont settle unless she has cuddles first. I dont complain i am her comfort her security they are so little still and need that reassurance they dont know yet that your not going anywhere they learn this with more affection and nurture. Sometimes she will fall asleep in her own in the swing but she always needs to be able to see me Kerri
  • Hes too little to expect to self sooth. I still rock my 9 mth old to sleep most days. He can self sooth now sometimes but not always and i personally don’t mind rocking him to sleep. Hes my 3rd bub and i rocked all of them to sleep, they were around 10/11 months when they didn’t need to be rocked any more. Amie
  • have you tried different dummies? My youngest ( who is almost 2 now) was sucking on her fingers to go to sleep and wanted her have a dummy instead of her fingers so I gave her a dummy but it took a week of trying neatly every dummy out there before I found the one she liked. She still had it now but we are going to take it away soon. Hope this helps Annie
  • I found pinky McKay advice famtastic for getting my mind around baby sleep issues. A more gentle approach Faye
  • I fed my 2nd and put her straight to bed she was usually asleep but id she woke I just let her settle and she went back to sleep… my 1st her dad was putting her to sleep by putting her over his shoulder until I had problem getting her to sleep so I had to stop it and ended up having to pat her to sleep Tammy
  • As others have said, 3.5 months is probably a little early for self soothing if they’re not doing it intuitively. I really recommend a book called The Sensible Sleep Solution. A really gentle approach with loads of info, and all research based rather than a ‘guru’. Good luck! Sally
  • just keep doing it, I did this with my 3 and still with my 16 month year old, i love it as its my time with her Amanda

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  1. Avatarmandy says:

    My boy is nearly 12 months and still breast feed and rock to sleep as it takes no time at all and I know he falls asleep in comfort. I believe he’ll show me when he’s ready to self soothe. Don’t feel you have to self soothe to early, listen to your baby 🙂

  2. AvatarRachael says:

    Learning to “self settle” is a developmental milestone. Like learning to walk, some babies can walk at 9 months and others not til 18 months. Science has now proved you can NOT teach it. You can however teach a baby to stop asking for help to fall asleep. These babies will still have extremely high cortisol levels aka stress hormones. Which has long term ramifications to the baby’s mental and emotional health.

  3. AvatarJen says:

    My baby girl is 3 weeks and from day one I have tried to put her down awake and let her protest cry to sleep.. If she gets upset rather then just having a whinge I go in and give her a cuddle till she is calm and put her down again.. They can learn its ok to fall asleep without your help, it’s just a matter of you gently teaching them that.. If your baby is older then it will take longer and there will be more protesting, then if you start doing it early on.