Tips to help your baby to settle (3-6 months)
Here are some tips to help your baby settle:
- It can be tempting to put your baby in their cot and make a speedy retreat if they fall asleep while feeding – but experts actually advise waking them slightly before settling them back to sleep: for example by winding them or sitting them up and rubbing their back. Putting them down awake but sleepy also lets them know that you’ve gone, helps them to get to sleep on their own, and avoids them waking in a panic and not knowing where you are.
- Lay a soft toy or (small) familiar-smelling blanket close by – either can be comforting to babies.
- If you’ve run through the Baby sleep checklist and baby is still grizzling, leave them for 5-10 minutes to see if they settle themselves. Not only is it a really important skill for them to learn, but you’ll be amazed how often they settle themselves when left for a few minutes.
- Don’t leave your baby if they’re clearly distressed: pick them up and rock them in your arms to soothe them for a few minutes before trying to lay them down again.
- If they continue to grizzle but aren’t distressed, try to comfort them without picking them up: place your hand on their chest and gently shush them before retreating. Repeat this as you need to, but leave longer gaps each time you go back to see if they settle.
- If your baby is teething, try gently massaging their jaw area – or try a teething gel. Sometimes babies who are teething will only settle after a feed, so it can be worth adjusting feeding and sleeping times.
- Try a baby sleeping bag to stop them wriggling out of their blankets and getting cold – just make sure the sleeping bag is the right thickness for the weather.
- It’s not too early to start a bedtime routine: a regular routine lets baby know when it’s time to go to sleep. If they struggle to go to sleep every night, try bringing bedtime earlier by half an hour to ensure they’re not over-tired when you put them down.