How to Teach your Baby to Self Soothe

How to Teach your Baby to Self Soothe
How to Teach your Baby to Self Soothe

Self Soothing refers to a baby’s ability to regulate their emotional state by themselves and fall asleep without needing a parent/caregiver rocking, cuddling, or patting them.

Some babies have a natural ability to self-soothe themselves, while others have to be taught. However, starting to self-soothe at the right age is highly crucial.

Unfortunately, many new parents lack the ability to teach their babies to self-soothe. Due to this, they often have to get up and rock/cuddle [with their baby] to sleep, which can be exhausting for them.

In this article, I have instructed on How to Teach your Baby to Self Soothe. I have also mentioned the benefits and do’s and don’ts of self-soothing a baby.

When to Teach your Baby to Self-Soothe?

Before diving into how to teach your Baby to Self Soothe, it is crucial to know the right age. If the babies are taught about self-soothing at the right age, it can save a lot of time and effort for parents to make them fall asleep.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends training the baby to self-soothe should be initiated after three months. Newborns require a parent/caregiver to help soothe them because they don’t have the ability to control their emotions.

If you attempt to train your baby earlier, the baby might become fussier and uncomfortable. Therefore, for more personalized and expert opinions, you should always consult a pediatrician and teach your baby about self-soothing accordingly.

Controlling emotions is not easy. Most adults fail at maintaining it. Therefore, you can’t expect much from an infant or toddler. Self-soothing is a gradual process that takes time and patience.

What does Self Soothing involve?

Self Soothing refers to a baby’s ability to regulate their emotional state by themselves and fall asleep without needing a parent/caregiver rocking, cuddling, or patting them.

The choice of the technique the parents apply for training their baby to self-soothe depends on multiple factors, including the baby’s temperament and personality. 

Some techniques work for a parent, while they don’t work for others. So, it becomes crucial to choose which style suits your baby and can effectively train your baby.

Here are a few techniques that may or may not work for you and your baby:

Using The Baby’s Hands, Mouth, And Face.

A widespread method of self-soothing in infants and toddlers is sucking on their thumb, fingers, or whole hand. Other than their hand, they can also:
• Suck on a pacifier
• Suck a bottle
• Sucking a soft blanket, dummy, or a toy
• Hold hands together
• Stroke their ears or nose
• Gently rub their eyes


Swaddling refers to wrapping your baby tightly in pieces of cloth or clothes. It is done to protect them or provide them with warmth and comfort, similar to a mother’s womb. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends swaddling your baby as it can be an effective technique to soothe and facilitate sleep, provided done appropriately.

Note: Don’t swaddle your baby if they are two months or older. Especially if they can roll over on their own, as wrapping at this stage may increase the risk of SIDS. 


Self-Exploration refers to your baby exploring their own body or surrounding by touching themselves or objects around them. Most parents tend to stop their babies from rolling around or putting their fingers in their mouths. However, let them explore and move around if they are not in immediate danger or make it a habit.

Suggested: 11 Common Baby Boomer Parenting Mistakes You Should Avoid

Benefits Of Self-Soothing

The baby becomes less fussy.

Self-soothing is used to make your child fall asleep and to help them learn self-control. A baby that can self-soothe will be less fussy and more relaxed throughout the day.

As a parent, you can even try ‘Self-Settling,’ i.e., your baby can go from being awake to asleep without lots of support or intervention from you. It will make your baby less fussy and more active throughout the day.

They sleep better

Suppose your baby is trained to self-soothe themselves while being sleepy. There are chances that your baby might make themselves fall back asleep. Baby will be able to experience a night of peaceful and long-lasting sleep.

The parent gets to relax.

One thing every newborn’s parents want is some relaxing time. If you know how to teach your baby to Self Soothe, you will be able to do your other chores in peace and have some relaxing time for yourself.

It is easier to parent a baby who can self-soothe than someone who is constantly fussy and requires constant attention and intervention while sleeping.

How to Teach your Baby to Self Soothe

Before learning how to teach your Baby to Self Soothe, you must remember that it takes some time for a baby to soothe themselves. Take your time, and don’t get frustrated if your baby takes a little longer.

Move step by step and give your baby’s body and mind time to learn and adapt to the new skills. Progress slowly by rocking, cuddling, swinging, or co-sleeping with your baby to teach them to sleep through self-soothing.

Now, here are tips on how to teach your Baby to Self Soothe:

1. Meet your baby’s needs first

Rather than writing off your baby’s crankiness, review their needs and ensure that they are not uncomfortable. Your baby won’t be able to soothe themselves if they have any of the following issues:

  • The diaper is soiled.
  • They are in a distracting environment. E.g., TV playing or loud talk in the room
  • They have gas or want to burp.
  • They have to be fed.
  • They are feeling too hot or too cold.

2. Set a schedule

Babies love to have a routine they can follow. So, ensure that your baby has a bedtime. Don’t skip naps, and avoid keeping them up late at night. When they follow a proper bedtime and sleep at the same time regularly, your child’s body gets used to it and falls asleep quickly.

By setting a schedule, you prevent your baby from getting overtired. Therefore, the baby can sleep peacefully right at naptime or bedtime. Drowsy but not fatigued children are better able to sleep alone.

3. Use white noise

White noise refers to a sound that masks other sounds that might occur naturally in an environment. The sound of a fan or using a white noise machine can be music to the baby’s ears.

It helps in drowning out other sounds and helps create a calming environment for them to nap or sleep. By regularly turning on the white noise machine at bedtime, it can act as a cue for your baby to fall asleep.

4. Stay close without picking them up.

Often whenever parents put down their baby, causing them to cry, they pick them back up. However, if you give attention to your baby without picking them up, they will be able to understand that being put down isn’t a bad thing.

Once you have placed your baby in a crib or car seat, don’t leave immediately. Stay close to them. Instead, talk to them or gently put your hand on their belly. Once the baby is calm and seems settled, calmly leave the room.

5. Try a pacifier

Pacifiers can be an effective solution to soothe a baby below the age of one. Pacifiers help teach babies self-soothing before they can learn other techniques. 

You should use pacifiers with extreme caution! You don’t want to make your baby addicted to pacifiers to the extent that they can’t calm down without them.

Limit the use of pacifiers to naptime and bedtimes. You can often use pacifiers while playing white noise in the background and following a routine. This way, your baby won’t become addicted to pacifiers to soothe themselves.

6. Stop feeding them to sleep.

Many times babies doze off while being fed. But, as your little ones grow, teaching them other ways to doze off is essential. It would be best if you stopped feeding them at naptime with the sole purpose of making them fall asleep.

Feeding them right at naptime or bedtime can result in your baby overeating or forming a habit of sleeping with the nipple in their mouth. 

To prevent this from happening, you can:

  • Stop feeding whenever your baby starts getting sleepy.
  • If they fall asleep feeding, gently burp your baby to wake them up. Then use other methods of self-soothing to make them fall asleep.

Quick Tip:

Be flexible and keep changing the self-soothing technique as your baby grows. Some of these techniques may not work after some time, so keep on experimenting with new ways on how to teach your baby to Self Soothe. 

Dos And Don’ts Of Self-Soothing

Be Patient

Most parents run to calm their baby down as soon as the baby starts crying. But, it would be best if you controlled yourself from intervention. You need to give your baby some time to try and settle in their crib.

Often, babies require some time before getting comfortable. Therefore, unless your baby is crying continuously for an extended period, give them a minute or two to calm down on their own.

Avoid consistent soothing

It would help if you refrained from continually patting, rocking, hugging, or comforting your little one. Instead, try other ways to soothe them, such as kissing them goodnight and walking out of the nursery. Then stand outside and observe your baby as they try and settle down in their crib. Please give them a little space to explore their ways to self-soothe.

Break these Habits

Some habits can pull back your baby from self-soothing themselves. These are:
• Putting a baby in a pram or stroller to make them fall asleep.
• Constantly using a pacifier to calm them down.
• Allowing your baby to play with your hair while they sleep.

While these may seem like everyday habits, they can really prevent your little one from learning to soothe themselves.

However, this is necessary only for babies older than six months. Until your baby turns six months old, do not worry about the habits getting ingrained in them.

Points To Remember

  • A baby who has learned to self-soothe can be left awake, and they will sleep on their own.
  • Don’t get worked up and frustrated if your baby does not learn to self-soothe. This process requires patience and willpower. 
  • Do not force things the wrong way, as this can be overwhelming for both you and your baby. Also, it can hamper future success.
  • Set the stage right. Initially, practice the new skill with your baby before letting them practice it independently.
  • Simply putting your baby down on the mattress may not always work. Use well-defined progressive techniques and exercise such as white noise and pacifiers. Remember, a lot can be achieved through gentle ways.


Self-soothing can be beneficial for a baby as they grow older. It can prevent them from having separation anxiety or frustration. Taking these simple steps and applying the techniques can help you train your baby to self-soothe. 

The key to teaching your baby how to self-soothe is evolving according to your child’s needs. If you follow the techniques mentioned above, you will be able to train your baby to self-soothe themselves.

In this post, I have mentioned how to teach your baby to Self Soothe. But keep in mind that there are multiple other factors that you have to keep in your mind. 

In the end, self-soothing is a slow and gradual process that takes time and patience. I hope you gained some knowledge from my post and learned something new about how to teach your baby to Self Soothe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends training the baby to self-soothe should be initiated after three months. Newborns require a parent/caregiver to help soothe them because they don’t have the ability to control their emotions.

Some babies have a natural ability to self-soothe themselves, while others have to be taught. Babies without innate ability require a parent/caregiver to train them to self-soothe via various techniques, as mentioned above.

A common reason for the baby, not self-soothing is that the caregiver doesn’t let the baby resettle on their own. Due to this, the baby becomes habitual to falling asleep with you and relies on you to settle them.

Therefore, while training your baby to self-soothe, you must be consistent and patient.

Let your baby cry it out for a couple of minutes before checking on them. As the night passes, slowly increase your response time until the baby sleeps independently.

Although, don’t let the baby cry out for any longer than 10 minutes. If they are crying constantly, try and find the reason for their discomfort and fuzziness.

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