Before you read about the three most popular settling techniques for newborn babies, it is important to remember that your baby may not be ready to settle on their own. With newborn babies there are no fixed rules. Your baby may need a lot of help to fall asleep to start with. Your baby may prefer less help from you.
It is important that you do not put too much pressure on yourself to make your baby settle on his own. If the first 5-8 weeks you help each and every time that is perfectly ok. Each sleep time, try putting your baby down and see how he handles it. You may find as the weeks go by, you are able to help less and less. If you don’t try and will never know.
It is also important to mention here that you should not underestimate the abilities of your baby. Always allow your baby to have a try first before you step in.
Technique #1 Pick Up, Put Down Approach
If your baby fusses, pick him up and walk around the room bouncing until he is calm. Once calm, gently return your baby to his crib. If he starts fussing again, wait a few minutes to see how he will respond. If the fussing turns to crying, you should pick your baby up again. Walk around the bedroom until he is calm, and then put his back into the crib. Repeat this process as many times as it takes for him to fall asleep. This will take a lot of practice so if on the first day you manage to settle your baby once this way and all the other attempts he falls asleep in your arms, then this is progress. The next day you may be able to achieve this twice and so forth.
If this continues long enough that another feed is needed, then feed your baby doing the best you can to keep him awake, then right back to the crib and keep trying.
Technique #2 Gentle Touch
Offering gentle soothing touch is another great way to assist your baby and reassure him you are there for him. Whilst your baby is in his cot, gentle pat him, stroke his arm, rub his forehead or lay your hand on his chest. These are all great ways to help comfort your baby. As each week goes by, offer him less and less gentle touch. This will encourage your baby to start doing it all by himself.
Technique #3 Leave and Return
Sometimes it can be stressful being in your baby’s room the entire time trying to get him to fall asleep. Also, you may not be able to stay there for a great length of time due to you having older children to supervise. You may also need to take a breath and leave the room for a break. Combine the Pick Up/Put Down Approach by picking your baby up for a cuddle, place him back into the crib and leave the room for a minute or so. Go back into your baby’s room and pick him up again and repeat. At first, you will be going in and out of the room a lot. Keep with it as the more and more you both practice, the better it will be in the end. As you progress, you can increase the check time.
Every baby is different so you may need to try different combinations of the techniques above. Learning about your baby’s likes and dislikes will help guide you towards the best settling technique for him.