Progressive settling 6 to 9 months
Progressive settling is a technique which involves responding to your baby's cries by comforting her in the cot, whilst extending the timeframe in which you respond. This strategy gives your baby the best chance to fall asleep by herself.
- Keep an eye out for signs of tiredness.
- Get her ready for sleep by making sure that she's clean, warm and fed.
- Enjoy some quiet time together before bed.
- Place your baby on her back at the lower end of the cot and tuck in firmly.
- Give her a kiss and a cuddle while she's in her cot, say 'good-night' and leave her room.
- If your baby cries, give her a chance to wind-down for 1-3 minutes before doing anything - this will give her a chance to self-settle.
- Return to her room for approximately 1 minute to either pat, body rock, rock the cot or stroke her face and head. Talk to her in a quiet reassuring voice but leave after 1 minute.
- 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.
- Return to her room again for another 1 minute to offer comfort while she remains in her cot.
- Leave the room again for four minutes.
- Continue with this pattern until you have reached the maximum amount of time - 5 minutes - allowed for her age. The extended time spent outside her room will give your baby her best chance to self-settle. If she's still crying at the end of allotted time but does seem to be quieting, keep listening but delay your return. If, however, you're unable to stop your baby crying, try picking her up and comforting her in your arms briefly until she is calm, and then place her back in the cot awake.
- Continue these techniques for up to forty five minutes. If after this time, your baby's still awake, get her up, feed her and have quiet play time until she's due for another sleep when you can try again.
Changing sleep and settling techniques can take perseverance. Don't be put off by her protests - it takes most babies 3-4 days of a new routine before you’ll begin to see results. And very often Day Two is worse than Day One because your baby has realised that something's afoot.
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