Self soothing is a term that often gets thrown into the pool of Ferberizing, Controlled crying and leaving little ones to cry in order to self soothe…But none of that is true!
Self soothing is actually a form of self regulation which is a vital life skill.
In order to teach a baby or child to self soothe, of course there are harsh approaches that get the negative press and there are also some incredibly responsive and kind approaches too.
Self settling is similar to self soothing but it is specifically relating to the skill of being able to put one-self to sleep. This is a learned skill which means we learn it through being taught in some way, it doesn’t just come to us.
Sleep training is essentially teaching babies and young children to self settle and this skill enables them to sleep soundly and restoratively. This is a positive thing and there are positive ways to approach this.
When a baby or young child relies on someone or something to put him to sleep and this thing is always done for him, he is not being allowed to develop this essential skill. It is a misconception that he will just get there in his own time and he will rely upon outside happenings to get him to sleep for many many years.
The inability to get oneself to sleep will also mean an inability to get oneself back to sleep which inevitably leads to sleep deprivation and the effects such as poor health, delayed development, antisocial behaviour, learning difficulties and more.
Under 4 months of age we can work on shaping a baby sleep and rhythms but they are too young to sleep train and effectively grasp this skill of self settling. From 5 months they are ready and able to learn and they are super malleable at this time making 6 months one of the simplest times for sleep training.
At The Sleep Nanny® our ethos on sleep training is that it is best done kindly and responsively with an aim to get the baby or child sleeping to their personal best of their abilities. We do not advocate leaving babies to cry and we always recommend a responsive approach that is most suitable for the individual family. We believe that sleep training is more effective over the long term when it is done this way and brings lasting results of healthy sleep.
I hope this has been helpful for you and I hope that it clears up and give you a better understanding on self soothing and self settling, why it’s important, and how you can actually go about implementing some of that.
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