Are you questioning whether babies can (or should!) self-soothe, but also want to help your little one sleep better? Here’s the difference between cry it out and self soothing.
I had a discussion with a lovely lady the other day whose baby won’t sleep at daycare since they won’t rock him.
She realizes that since he’s rocked to sleep at home -and they can’t consistently do that at daycare – that he is refusing naps.
And they’ve told her he’s clearly exhausted and it’d be better if she could help support independent sleep at home, so she could transfer it to napping at daycare.
Well… she has some concerns. Concerns many mothers share, so I’ll list them here.
- Does sleep training affect the parent/child bond?
- Is self-soothing even something a baby should be forced to do?
- Will crying damage him?
- Can she sleep train WITHOUT crying?
I’ve touched on all the others on various posts you can find here, but here I want to dive into self-soothing.
*This* concept gets moms hung up
She said something similar to this…
Isn’t an 8 month old too young to self-soothe?
And my answer to that is this: the goal of sleep training is not to teach a baby to self-soothe.
The goal of sleep training is teaching a baby to go to sleep on their own.
They don’t need to soothe their distress, they need to go to sleep. The two things aren’t the same. We needn’t confuse them.
Here’s a handy dandy list of 28 things to try so baby will stop fighting sleep and sleep longer and later.
What is self-soothing?
I know people want to define self-soothing as letting a baby cry themselves to sleep. But THAT TICKS ME OFF. Because when we want a baby to learn to sleep independently, we aren’t abandoning their emotions.
Soothe (v): reduce pain or discomfort in (a part of the body), gently calm (a person or their feelings)
So self-soothing would be expecting a baby to reduce their own pain or calm themselves.
The goal being: calming one’s self.
Tried-and-true *hands on* newborn settling strategies that even the most fussy (or wide-awake-sleep-refusing) newborns cannot resist!Learn More
What is sleep training?
On the contrary, the point of sleep training is: teaching a baby to sleep on their own.
So you see, the goal of teaching a baby to soothe himself and teaching a baby to sleep on their own are not the same. And, in fact, when you teach a baby to get to sleep on their own they will naturally be more calm and settled.
Learning to sleep on one’s own is a life skill.
Why kids need to learn to sleep on their own NOT comfort themselves
There are a variety of reasons that babies will benefit from learning to sleep on their own. Now, if baby is rocking to sleep or otherwise getting to sleep NOT on their own, but is still sleeping well.
Then all is well.
But if baby isn’t sleeping well, is fussy a lot, waking all the time to try because they have a “job to do” then it’ll benefit baby to learn to sleep on there own.
Here’s why it benefits baby to know how to sleep on their own.
- Baby can get themselves to sleep anytime, anywhere, if they’re tired.
- They’ll be able to sleep even with a babysitter, mother’s helper, at daycare, at someone else’s house, etc. because they know how.
- Everyone in the home can rest well because there isn’t a lot of night waking.
- Well-rested babies nap better as well since sleep begets sleep.
Sleep training isn’t training your baby to soothe their own pain
Mothers will soothe their little one’s pain until they aren’t able to anymore.
We will calm them when they’re distressed, we will feed them when they’re hungry, we will cuddle them because that’s what mothers do.
Mothers will meet their baby’s needs in a way that is best for baby and, sometimes, that’s teaching baby a life skill they currently lack. A life skill that is necessary for optimal development and emotional regulation.
Use my simple 4 step routine to help your little ones start sleeping better LIKE TODAY.
It doesn’t take weeks, mama.