Rocking, nursing, bottle feeding or bouncing your baby to sleep can work great…until it doesn’t! You can reach a point where it just doesn’t feel sustainable anymore.
They get heavy, they get wriggly, they take longer and longer to drop off…and then they wake up as soon as you put them in their crib!
And then you start the process all over again each time they wake up through the night.
You don’t want to keep doing what you’re doing but you don’t know what to do instead,
Does that sound familiar? You aren’t alone, we hear from families every day who want to make a change to how their baby falls asleep, but they don’t know where to start! We’ve put together this guide to help…
Do I need to stop rocking or feeding my baby to sleep?
How your baby falls asleep is never an issue, unless it becomes a issue for you. If the way you are supporting your baby to sleep currently is working for you and your baby – you don’t need to change a thing.
But, if it feels unsustainable and you want to make a change, then you can make the decision to make a change. And you can choose how and when you do it.
Some babies are breastfed, bottle fed or rocked to sleep and sleep peacefully for the rest of the night. For others, how they fall asleep can have an impact on their sleep for the rest of the night or nap.
We all stir or partially wake between sleep cycles, though we will rarely remember it happening. We might plump up our pillow, move around the bed or rearrange our sheets. Babies and toddlers will also stir or wake between each of their sleep cycles – they might settle themselves back to sleep or they might need help getting back to sleep again.
There are no rules or guarantees with babies and sleep, but we generally find (and we’ve supported thousands of families with their child’s sleep!) that babies who are able to settle themselves to sleep at the start of the night usually need less support from their parents to fall back to sleep each time they wake during the night.
That doesn’t mean they won’t need to a feed during the night (the age babies drop night feeds can vary widely) or that they won’t need some comfort or support at times. But it can mean that night wakings are less frequent (i.e. not every hour of the night) and that settling them back to sleep after a feed or some comfort can be quicker.
When to stop feeding, rocking or bouncing to sleep?
We don’t believe in set rules or ‘shoulds’ when it comes to baby and toddler’s sleep. There is no set age that you have to stop nursing or rocking your baby to sleep. You can support your little one to sleep however works for you for as long as it works for you. If you want to make changes, then you can start at any age.
How do I stop feeding to sleep?
Our most popular courses cover all things sleep – including different strategies you can use to support your baby to fall asleep in their own cot, crib or bed and no longer rock/nurse/bounce or pace the room with them in your arms.
You can choose an approach to suit you and your baby – you can go gradually or move more quickly. We give you the strategies and you go for the one that feels right for you!
What else do the courses cover? HOW your baby falls asleep might feel like your biggest challenge at the moment, but there are lots of other factors you can tweak and change to help your baby settle to sleep more easily.
The courses guide you through:
- The science behind your baby’s sleep. (Don’t worry, you won’t need your medical dictionary to hand – it is just practical guidance to help you really understand your baby’s sleep).
- Sleep associations – what they are and how they might be impacting on sleep.
- Creating a great sleep environment that helps support your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep for longer.
- Suggested schedules for your baby’s age. We explain how you can shape your day to suit your baby’s needs and achieve more predictable naps, reduce bedtimes battles and make night time sleep more restful for the whole family.
And of course we break down the different strategies for settling you can use to support your baby or toddler to fall asleep in a new way.
We also include common questions and FAQs to help you along the way. You’ll have access to videos and downloads to guide you through everything you need to know, and give you the confidence boost you need to make a change.
We also include a downloadable sleep diary, so you can track your baby’s sleep to get a ‘before and after’ visual of how their sleep patterns change.
If what you are doing at the moment is working for you, you don’t need to change a thing!
But if you’re ready to find a new way forward and don’t know where to start, then all you need to do is choose the course closest to your baby’s age and you can get started straight away!