Keys that help the baby learn to put himself/herself to sleep should establishing a calm nighttime routine, setting a bedtime when he’s awake, and giving him/her plenty of chances to understand how to go to sleep on his/her own.

You can start teaching your baby good sleep habits a few weeks after birth, before spending too much time learning bad sleep habits. However, even if your baby is no longer a newborn, trying the following tips can go a long way in helping them fall asleep on their own.

• Put her to bed at regular hours. Putting your baby to bed at the same time every night sets his/her internal clock so he/she is more likely to be sleepy at a predictable time. Make sure it is not too late, because tired babies are particularly difficult to calm down.
• Follow a continuous bedtime routine. Let her know it’s bedtime with a nighttime ritual that includes three or four calm activities, such as bathing, reading a story, lullaby, or singing, rocking, or hugging.
• Put your baby to bed while he is asleep. Trying to put her to bed while she’s asleep helps her fall asleep without you.

• Establish a routine to put them to sleep. If your baby goes to sleep while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, he or she will not be able to learn to fall asleep on their own. Move your child’s feeding time closer to bedtime and reduce the duration of feeding to encourage a decrease in eating before sleep. If your baby starts to doze off, stop feeding him/her and finish his/her bedtime routine before putting him/her on his cot.

• Take a look at some of the issues. What happens if you give your baby the chance to relax and she/he doesn’t? Some babies take more time to learn this than others. Or maybe your baby doesn’t have enough developmental skills yet.

Finally, take a step back and think about whether you can handle it and whether you should start. Are you trying to put him to sleep before putting him/her in his cot? Is it right to rush to comfort him at the first cry and deprive him of the chance to relieve himself? Do you think you’ll only get her/him to sleep for one night when she’s/he’s not ready?

Self-relaxation takes time to learn, and some babies need a little longer than others. Be patient, stick to the calming bedtime routine, and remember that some days will be easier than others. In the meantime, read about structured sleep training methods to help your baby become self-sleeping. This could be the next step!

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