Picture this: a peaceful snoozing infant, a stress-free bedtime routine, and well-rested caregivers. Sounds like a dream, right? Helping your child learn to self-soothe at bedtime can make the process smoother over time while also delivering many other benefits to you and your child.
Self-soothing refers to a baby's ability to calm down and fall asleep on their own without relying on outside support such as feeding, rocking, or being held. Learning how to self-soothe is not only crucial for successful sleep training, but it’s also an essential life skill for a baby. By calming down and falling asleep on their own, they become less reliant on their caregivers for help falling asleep, which ultimately leads to a smoother bedtime routine. Self-soothing also provides a lot of additional benefits for you and your child:
Encourages independence: By teaching your child how to self-soothe, you're empowering them to develop essential self-regulation skills, or the ability to manage and control their emotions, behaviors, and responses in order to adapt to different situations. This skill allows them to gradually rely less on external soothing techniques, like rocking or nursing, and become more self-reliant in managing their own comfort and sleep. Gaining these skills will continue to benefit them as they get older and will extend beyond helping them fall asleep to developing positive relationships, adapting to changes more easily, and much more.
Improves sleep quality: When babies rely on external signals to fall asleep, like rocking or nursing, they may wake up more frequently during the night, leading to poor quality sleep for both the baby and caregivers. By learning this valuable skill, babies can develop more consistent sleep patterns, allowing them to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Not to mention, it gives caregivers some extra sleep as well.
Helps with sleep regression: Sleep regression, when children experience a temporary period of sleep disturbance after previously sleeping well, is common in babies. Learning how to self-soothe can help babies navigate through sleep regression and get back to sleeping well more quickly.
To learn more about how to help your child self-soothe, read our previous article.