Why do babies need to learn how to self soothe? A great question!
Many of our clients ask, “How do I teach my baby to self soothe?” not many ask, “Why do I need to teach my baby to self soothe?” and sometimes as obvious as the answer may seem, some parents really don’t know the answer.
Let’s first define what is self soothing. Self soothing is the ability for a baby to fall asleep with little to no help from parents. For babies over 4-6 months, this would include falling back to sleep over night when they wake from their sleep cycles. Self soothing is not something that can be taught but parents can provide baby with the opportunity to teach himself. Given the right circumstances (such as age and size of baby) and the right sleep environment, babies can learn how to soothe themselves to sleep quite easily.
Self soothing is such an important skill for babies to have for both baby and parent. Bedtime and naptime routines are more enjoyable and relaxing. Baby learns how to transition from one sleep cycle to the next cycle with little disruption to their sleep. Baby will have positive experiences and associations to being in their room and in their bed. Babies actually have more solid stretches of sleep which foster so many important things like growth, behaviour and mood. Not to mention parents will have better sleeps which will allow them to be more rested and patient for quality wake times with their baby. As your baby gets older, having a toddler and young child with fantastic sleep skills will be reflected in his own mental and physical development. As well, this allows parents to nurture independence which will prove extremely beneficial when parents have a new baby to care for as well.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to help foster self soothing in our children. A skill that will not only help them as babies, but will bring them right in to adulthood!