Newborn Self Soothing

Newborn Self Soothing: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Help Your Baby Learn It

What is newborn self soothing?

Self-soothing is the ability to calm oneself down when feeling upset, stressed, or tired. It is an important skill for emotional regulation and well-being. Babies who can self-soothe can fall asleep on their own, go back to sleep if they wake up during the night, and play calmly by themselves.

Self-soothing does not mean that babies do not need their parents or caregivers to comfort them. It means that babies can use some strategies to cope with their feelings and needs, while still relying on their attachment figures for support and guidance.

Why is self-soothing important?

self-soothing benefits

Newborn Self soothing is beneficial for both babies and their parents or caregivers. Some of the benefits are:

  • Better sleep quality and quantity. Babies who can self-soothe can sleep longer and more soundly, without needing frequent interventions from their parents or caregivers. This can improve their physical and mental health, as well as their mood and behavior. It can also help their parents or caregivers get more rest and reduce their stress levels.
  • More independence and confidence. Babies who can self-soothe can explore their environment and learn new skills, without being overly dependent on their parents or caregivers. This can foster their curiosity, creativity, and self-esteem. It can also help their parents or caregivers feel more confident in their parenting abilities and enjoy their interactions with their babies more.
  • Better emotional regulation and coping skills. Babies who can self-soothe can manage their emotions and cope with challenges, such as separation, frustration, or disappointment, more effectively. This can help them develop resilience, empathy, and social skills. It can also help their parents or caregivers have more positive and harmonious relationships with their babies.

How to help your baby learn to self-soothe?

help your baby learn to self-soothe

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching your baby to self-soothe. Different babies may have different preferences, temperaments, and developmental stages. However, some general tips and techniques are:

  • Meet your baby’s needs first. Before you try to encourage your newborn self soothing, make sure that they are not hungry, thirsty, wet, cold, hot, sick, or in pain. These are basic needs that require your immediate attention and care.
  • Establish a consistent and soothing bedtime routine. A bedtime routine can help your baby wind down and prepare for sleep. It can also signal to your baby that it is time to sleep and that you are nearby. A bedtime routine can include activities such as bathing, reading, singing, or cuddling. Try to keep the routine consistent and calm, and avoid stimulating activities, such as playing, watching TV, or using electronic devices.
  • Put your baby to bed drowsy but awake. This can help your baby learn to associate their bed or crib with falling asleep, rather than being rocked, nursed, or held. It can also help your baby learn to fall asleep on their own, without needing your help. If your baby cries or fusses, you can try to soothe them without picking them up, such as by rubbing their back, shushing them, or talking to them softly. However, if your baby is very upset or inconsolable, you can pick them up and comfort them until they calm down, and then try again.
  • Give your baby a moment to calm down before going to them. If your baby wakes up during the night or after a nap, you do not have to rush to them immediately. Sometimes, babies may make some noises or movements as they transition between sleep cycles, but they are not fully awake or in distress. They may be able to go back to sleep on their own if you give them a chance. You can wait for a few minutes and see if your baby settles down, or use a baby monitor to check on them. However, if your baby is crying loudly or persistently, you can go to them and see what they need.
  • Encourage your baby to use self-soothing behaviors. Babies can use various self-soothing behaviors to calm themselves down, such as sucking on a pacifier, thumb, or finger, rubbing their eyes, snuggling with a favorite toy or blanket, rubbing something soft between their fingers, rubbing their hair or head, rocking themselves from side to side, and making humming or cooing sounds. You can help your baby discover and practice these behaviors by providing them with opportunities and tools, such as a pacifier, a soft toy, or a blanket. You can also model and praise these behaviors, such as by saying “You are sucking your thumb, which helps you feel calm” or “You are cuddling your teddy bear, which makes you feel cozy”.

Is it OK to let a newborn self-soothe?

In reality, due to their small stomachs and specific nutritional requirements, it’s essential to feed them multiple times during the night. Newborns cannot self-soothe, relying on your assistance to settle into sleep through comforting techniques such as shushing, swaying, and rocking. Crying serves as the primary means through which newborns express their fundamental needs.

At what age can a baby self-soothe?

A considerable number of parents observe their babies displaying self-soothing actions around the age of 3 to 4 months. By the time infants reach 6 months, the majority can go for 8 hours or longer without requiring nighttime feeding. This period serves as an opportune moment to promote and nurture their ability to self-soothe, both when initially falling asleep and in the event of waking up during the night.

Can I let my 2-week-old selfsoothe?

Unlike older babies and toddlers, newborns cannot self-soothe. However, caregivers can utilize calming strategies to facilitate quicker and more extended periods of sleep. Establishing a consistent bedtime routine is a highly effective soothing technique for newborns.

Conclusion

Newborn Self soothing is a valuable skill that can help your baby sleep better, feel more confident, and cope with their emotions. You can help your baby learn to self-soothe by meeting their needs, establishing a bedtime routine, putting them to bed drowsy but awake, giving them a moment to calm down, and encouraging them to use self-soothing behaviors. However, remember that every baby is different and that self-soothing is a gradual process that takes time and patience. Do not expect your baby to self-soothe perfectly or consistently, and do not hesitate to comfort your baby when they need you. Your love and support are the most important factors for your baby’s well-being.

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