Comfort Settling 3 to 6 months
Comfort Settling is a technique, which involves actively comforting your baby, while she remains in the cot. This will give your baby the best chance to fall asleep by himself.
- Watch for signs of tiredness.
- Prepare her for sleep. Make sure that she is fed, has a clean nappy, and is in comfortable loose clothing. Have some quiet time together.
- Wrap her (if applicable) and then tuck her in firmly on her back with her feet at the lower end of the cot.
- Spend a few moments with her giving her a gentle pat, a kiss and a quiet 'good-night' before leaving the room.
- If your baby cries, give her a chance to wind-down for 1-3 minutes before doing anything.
- After 1-3 minutes (depending on if her cries are escalating) return to her room and offer her comfort by either patting her, body rocking, rocking the cot or stroking her face. Talking in a very low tone may help her to settle as she won't be able to hear you unless she stops crying. Do this for approx. 3 minutes while she calms.
- Leave her room again for three minutes. If you find this too long at first, try just one minute, then two minutes and then three minutes.
- Some babies find quiet background music playing while they sleep relaxing - this could be your favourite radio station with the volume on low or the 'white noise' of a fan whirring or even the radio between stations. Sometimes too much quiet is actually unsettling and impractical - particularly if you have another child in the house.
- Continue returning to your baby to calm and reassure her, then leave again, giving her an opportunity to fall asleep.
- At this age crying babies shouldn't be left for any longer than three minutes. At all times listen to the nature of your baby's cry when deciding how long to wait before you move onto the next step. If she's still crying at the end of three minutes but does seem to be slowly quieting, keep listening but delay your return to her as you may unsettle her with your appearance.
- However, if you're unable to stop your baby crying after several three minute tries, comfort her in your arms briefly until she's calm, and then place her back into the cot while she's awake.
- Continue these techniques for up to forty five minutes. If your baby doesn't settle in this time you may need a chance of scenery and choose to take her for a walk, give her a massage or a deep relaxation bath. Then try to re-settle.
- If it is now nearing the time for the next feed, stop the settling, give her a feed and try again at the next sleep time.
Your baby may really ramp up the crying when you first introduce this method of settling. She may sound outraged (because she is!) that you've left her to cry in her cot, but when you calmly and consistently respond to her crying by offering comfort while she remains in her cot, she will begin to be reassured by the new routine.
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Last revised: Tuesday, 24 June 2008
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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