Teaching your baby to self settle

Everyone talks about self settling...but why is important?

Why should you bother to teach your baby to settle himself at bedtime? Why not just continue feeding or rocking your baby to sleep?

If you are happy with how much sleep you and your baby are currently getting, then read no further!

But if your baby needs more sleep during the night or catnaps and is constantly over-tired during the day, then learning to self settle will likely make a huge difference to your baby's sleep and overall well being. 

If your own physical or mental health is suffering as a result of lack of sleep, we highly recommend you start helping your baby learn to self settle. For example, Australian research showed a significant number of cases of post natal depression can be resolved quickly by teaching the baby to sleep.

Continued exhaustion makes life with a baby stressful and often not much fun. Sleep deprivation can impact on all relationships, your ability to parent and work, your outlook and enjoyment of life with your baby. We think it's OK to want a decent sleep once your baby is well past the newborn stage...it doesn't make you selfish!

Teaching or encouraging your baby to self settle will mean more sleep for everyone and it certainly does not mean using cry it out...we don't recommend that at all!

If you know you want a gentle technique, swap to our 'Gently Encourage your baby to self settle' article now.



  1. When does self settling become important?
  2. 4 month sleep regression
  3. Sleep Associations
  4. Self-settling & Dummies
  5. What age can I start to teach my baby to self settle?
  6. Preparation
  7. Choose a technique that's right for your family
  8. Get everyone on board
  9. The Self Settling Techniques


When does self settling become important?

Once all babies are around 5 months old,  their sleep cycles will change considerably. Rather than drift in and out of light sleep throughout the night, babies start to wake fully between sleep cycles.  So ALL babies start waking 4-6 times, or more, each night.

So babies over 5 months don't actually 'sleep through'  -  if they can self settle, they can go back to sleep 4-6 times during the night without your help.

But if your baby can't fall asleep without your help at bedtime, he is likely to need your help to go back to sleep each time he wakes in the night. Generally babies want or need the same settling technique during the night that they rely on at bedtime to get to sleep. So if you feed your baby to sleep at bedtime, it will seem that nothing apart from feeding to sleep will settle them in the night!

Babies who continue being helped to sleep at bedtime and through the night develop a reliance, or habit, on such help. In the following months their night waking often gets worse rather than better as they get older.

All babies, children and adults stir and wake many times in the night. But you can encourage your baby that he can go back to sleep without needing your help, and this is when your baby will 'sleep through the night'.

You will be surprised at how quickly your baby will learn they can resettle themself in the night, once you decide on a plan and use it consistently.

1. Why is self settling important?

Self settling is the way that babies