It is very common, and completely normal, for babies and young children to have a preference for who settles them to sleep. We often hear from mums who say ‘my baby won’t fall asleep for anyone but me’ and from dads or other caregivers who want to be more involved in bedtime and nap times, but their little one is not happy about the change in plan!
It can feel difficult to be the one who always has to do bedtime, and it can also feel hard to be the one on the side-lines and not feel able to settle your little one to sleep.
Whether you just need a break from bedtime once in a while, have other children you want to be able to spend more time with or need to travel away from home or return to work – there are many valid reasons why you may want to share the responsibility of settling your little one to sleep with another caregiver.
Fear not, we have some top tips for you to try if your baby or toddler is resisting falling asleep for anyone apart from you!
Increasing Involvement: Each night, get them to be a bit more involved. For example, they can take over halfway through the bath or handle dressing and reading the bedtime story. By gradually becoming more involved, they can become an integral part of the bedtime routine.
Breastfeeding Considerations: If you are breastfeeding, you can still involve your partner or another caregiver in the process. After feeding, you can try passing your baby or toddler to the other person for the final stages of settling to sleep.
Embrace Different Approaches: Give your partner, or whoever will be taking over sleep duties, the space to try and settle your little one in their own way. They might not do things in the exact same way and that’s ok. Our little ones are very clever and learn that different people do things in slightly different ways.
Communication and Boundaries: It is important to have a conversation beforehand so whoever is taking over bedtime knows how you normally settle them. Discuss your bedtime boundaries in advance so you both know what to expect and can feel confident in each other.
Trust and Confidence: It can feel hard to step away and know that your little one is going to be going through a different way of falling asleep than they are used to. Be confident in the knowledge that someone you love and trust is putting them to sleep and even if it takes a little longer than usual, they will fall asleep and feel comfortable in a their new routine.
We hope these tips will help your little one become more comfortable falling asleep for someone other than you. Remember, communication, gradual transitions, and trust are key. Embrace the opportunity for others to participate in the bedtime routine, giving yourself some well-deserved breaks and allowing your child to form strong bonds with other caregivers in their life.
Want more support with your child’s sleep?
If you would like to learn more about sleep and have guidance on how you can approach achieving a predictable routine and well-rested night’s sleep then check out our online courses.
Available from newborn to 4 years old, our courses are designed to help you learn how you can support your child to sleep better.
We share all the information you need to help you really understand your little one’s sleep and how to help them achieve more predictable naps and restful nights – all from your own computer, phone or tablet whenever it suits you.