Is it bad that baby doesn't self settle?(29 Posts)
Just this really
Have 6 month old ds, we feed and rock him to sleep. If he wakes in the night I pat him back to sleep and then he wakes half 3 ish for a feed then anything from every 45 mins to sleeping till 7.30am.
Everyone tells me he should be able to get himself to sleep now but....he doesn't! Am I harming him by not sleep training? I still see him as my tiny baby (PFB ) and don't know if I want to sleep train him just yet!
He will need something to help him get to sleep for along time yet, well into toddler years.
That might be a dummy or his thumb. Maybe he'll snuggle a special toy or blanket. Some children have a self-soothing ritual movement they do to themself, like hair twirling or stroking their cheek.
... and other children have their parents as their soothing mechanism. This often ultimately ends up with bedsharing and/or room sharing.
So as long as you have your expectations set reasonably, it's not a problem. Especially true if you are planning on being your baby's soothing mechanism for as long as is needed.
If you ultimately hope for independant settling, then while your baby will need help with independant soothing now, it might be worth introducing them to ways of soothing themselves. Primarily some sort of sleep comforter. Apart from a dummy to suck, baby isn't likely to be old enough to 'bond with' and comforter in any meaningful way yet.
Dummies are amazing for independant settling to sleep.
Thank you for your reply. We have tried a dummy but he spat it out and refused it. I think he may have tummy ache...we have started weaning and he seems to be even worse than before. Is this normal?
I was reading about self settling last night and there is a school of thought (which is evidence based) that babies can't self settle as their brains simply don't develop enough to allow this until they are much older. Google Sarah Ockwell Smith and self settling.
My DD won't take a dummy either, but I've read on here that lots of people have problems with them as they fall out and this wakes baby up so could be constantly pushing the dummy back in!
You are not harming him by doing it. But you may live to regret it in months to come as we found our dc needed more and longer of the rocking and sshing to get to sleep and stay that way.
For the record, some babies absolutely can self settle. Dd3 is 7 mo old, she goes to bed wide awake and has a monkey she rubs on her face for a couple of mins then goes to sleep. I recognise this is unusual but it's absolutely possible, I've not helped her to sleep since she was a couple of months old.
I tied myself up in knots worrying about this - when DS got to about 9 months and started asking at night and not being able to settle himself, we did some sleep training and he got the hang of it within about 3 days. He was ready to learn, and I was confident he wasn't going to 'suffer'.
Even some adults can't self settle, they listen to relaxing music/white noise to get to sleep, my DD (3) has to have a set ritual every night to get to sleep which concludes with holding her hand for a few minutes until she falls asleep. I'm confident I won't be doing this when she's 30
I hope 😂
We always cuddled ds to sleep and Co slept second half of night and worried he would never self settle (dummy refuser too) but at 13 months he very suddenly started to regularly sleep through, we didn't do anything different at all.
I think some babies will be able to self settle early some later its a developmental thing I'm sure, speed it up with sleep training if ur desperate but if he's pfb and you don't mind just enjoy comforting him I say!!
We were feeding to sleep all the time at 6 months but by 10 months ds no longer had night feeds which i think helped, was a gradual thing (replacing with cuddles!). A pillow when he was a year old seemed to help too
Don't do it if you don't want to. But bear in mind that many babies don't grow out of needing sleep props for a long time, the PP who still needs to hold her 3 yo DD's hand is an example. If you're fine with that, then don't worry. If you're not, you will need to look into sleep training sooner or later, and remember that the earlier you start, the easier it is.
It's rubbish that not self settling at 6 months will cause any issues. Mine certainly didn't. In fact at that age we were still having to keep him upright for half an hour after a feed as he had silent reflux so he was cuddled to sleep effectively. He properly started to self settle at bedtime when we moved him to a bed at 18 months. It never had any effect on how often he woke at night.
My son (7 months) has a soothing nightlight which changes colours. It is attached to his cot. He stares at it until he falls asleep. We've been using it since he was 3 months old. Perhaps something like that will help?
Self settling is important. You're training his brain to produce melatonin ( the hormone needed to feel sleepy) when he's rocked in your arms. He will therefore need to be rocked this way when he's 3 years. It will lead to very difficult night times in the future.
In the sleep cycle we do something called partially waking. It's an instinct in us to check our environment. We need to be exactly the same as we fell asleep when we partially wake. If anything has changed we wake. That's the point you realise your cold or need the loo. With a child that's the point they realise they're not in their parents arms etc and wake. If they fall asleep in their cot by self soothing your child is very likely to sleep through the night.
We still cuddle 13mo DS to sleep. Takes 10mins & he'll go 12hours without a peep - so not necessarily true that they'll need to get back to sleep in the night the same way they dropped off initially. He can't/won't fall asleep in his cot by himself & we have never wanted to sleep train. He's also never had a dummy, hated them, but he has started sucking his sleeve...!?
He was exactly the same as yours at that age, he just got there by himself - it depends whether you're happy to continue as you are, really.
It's only a problem if it's a problem.
My 6 month old can self settled at bedtime as long as we follow her usual routine, she still wakes in the night so feed back to sleep then. Is your lo in his own room? This has made a big difference to my babies sleep
My son is 3 years and still need cuddles to sleep. Perfectly normal.
Absolute rubbish that they will sleep through if they self settle! DD self settles to sleep at night but still wakes frequently and needs feeding back to sleep. She is almost 1
Thanks for the replies, we are starting sleep training tonight in that we have put him to bed awake and are going back in every few mins to soothe. I love cuddling him to sleep but it is gradually getting worse at night and need something to save my sanity. I feel cruel though!
Good luck NoUse, let us know how you get on
I failed already! I couldn't stand hearing him cry so picked him up and end up feeding him to sleep
It's so hard going isn't it. We were going through this at Christmas and I was at my wits end, we decided to try a sleepyhead grand (she outgrew her small one) and dd's sleep has improved so much. They are very expensive though
This is going to sound so stupid but what is a sleepyhead? Ds keeps waking up screaming but doesn't want a bottle, has had calpol for teeth and is rocked to sleep quite easily. Just don't understand what's wrong and hate hearing him distressed!
I know it's hard but personally I fed to sleep and I still do (dc just gone 2). My instinct was always to do this. Is baby still in your room or separate room?
It's a pod type cushion baby sleeps on which can be placed into the cot and gives baby more security as it makes them feel more enclosed. They are £160 so a lot of money but I found it to be the only thing which helped my dd. We went from crying every 45 mins through the night and not wanting to be put down so ended up co-sleeping, to transition to sleepyhead in the cot and in own room. She now only wakes twice for a feed and goes back to sleep without a peep
He is probably crying because he's awake and he doesn't want to be! My DS1 was like that. If you can't get him to take a dummy I'd try and comfort blanket. Both of mine love a square of cellular blanket with a silk ribbon sewn round the edges.
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