Helping babies aged 6 months + to get to sleep
For babies 6 months+
- Put your baby to sleep awake.
- This can be tricky, as a 6-month-old is usually so tired by bedtime that they fall asleep on their last feed. If that’s the case, try feeding them a little earlier, as well as reading a story before bed.
- Try to avoid rocking baby to sleep at this age if you can:
- they’re likely to get used to it, and could later struggle to fall asleep without you rocking them!
- Introduce a bedtime routine if you haven’t done so already.
- Give your baby a soft toy or small blanket they can self-soothe with.
- At around 8 months babies tend to have a bit of separation anxiety when you leave the room.
- Just stick to what you’ve been doing, and try to soothe your child by shushing and patting while in the cot before retreating. Leave longer gaps between each visit to see if they settle themselves (unless they’re distressed, in which case stay and comfort them).
- Has your baby has started to stand in the cot?
- Lay them back down, quietly say “it’s time to go to sleep”, settle them and retreat. Do this as many times as necessary – and keep reminding yourself that this phase won’t last! Taking turns with a partner, where possible, makes this less tiring on you too.
- Think about moving your baby to their own room to limit the possibility of accidentally waking them.
- Try to avoid bringing your child into your bed if you don’t normally co-sleep:
- again, they’ll get used to this very quickly, and will expect it every time they wake. It may sometimes be your last resort – if baby is poorly, for instance, or particularly unsettled and it’s disrupting the rest of the household. Do what you can not to make it a regular thing, though, as it can take longer for your baby to get in the habit of going to sleep on their own.
Want more advice or support?
You can talk via online chat to our family support workers and get advice specific to your situation and your family.