Self Settling 9 week old

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Self Settling 9 week old

Postby NHames » Fri 04 Mar, 2011 3:23 pm


I am trying to get my 9 week old baby boy to self settle. I have (tried) to start the routine each night of Bath, Bottle Bed, the bed bit done by 6pm. It has only been 2 nights, the first night very successful, the second night not at all! Am I starting him too early in his life, or too early in the night? And was it ok to (after about an hour) bring him out with us after not settling at all last night..? I finally caved last night and rocked him to sleep. He has had reflux, and constipation, and has only just begun to sleep in 4 hour blocks in the night...

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Re: Self Settling 9 week old

Postby NgalaOnline » Fri 04 Mar, 2011 4:14 pm

Hi NHames

Thank you for your post. The concerns you are having are certainly common.

In the first 3-4 months of life there are still vast sections of a baby's brain that are quite immature. For this reason, at your baby's age many babies are unable to find ways to soothe and settle themselves, as the part of the brain that coordinates emotional regulation and the ability to calm oneself is still very immature. It is still very common for a newborn baby at nine weeks of age to experience periods of unsettled behaviour, often related to being overtired, and to require support from their parent to soothe and settle.

By around 3-4 months more brain development has occurred and babies have more ability to calm themselves and find sleep. It is common for parents of newborns to feel concerned that their baby is not in a routine and unable to settle themselves. Many parents feel that they are creating a bad habit by doing things like cuddling or feeding their baby to sleep. You may be reassured to know that at this early stage in your baby's life, he is unlike to be establishing strong sleep associations (set ideas about how to fall asleep). Many babies do begin to establish sleep associations between three to four months of age, and that is often a good time to begin working towards helping a baby to learn how to fall asleep without requiring external aids such as rocking and feeding. By three to four months many babies are more predictable and less likely to experience periods of newborn unsettledness.

Over the coming weeks you may like to focus on watching for early tired signs (which may be as subtle as your baby looking into the distance and avoiding eye contact). If you can put your baby into his bed before he gets to later signs of tiredness such as clenched fists, grizzling and jerky movements (which can signal that a baby is already a little overtired) you may find that on some occasions he can easily fall asleep without needing extra assistance. It is common to find though that there may be periods of the day (often particularly later in the day when he is overtired) where a newborn will need more support to settle, and this is fine. A baby this age will generally be ready for bed again within an hour of waking, including feed times.

It is best begin helping a baby to learn to self settle when he is well, therefore it would be best to wait until any pain from reflux or constipation well controlled before beginning to work on his sleep.

You may find the following link helpful: ... bout-Sleep

You may also find the downloadable Tip Sheets "How Does Your Newborn Sleep" and "Secrets of Good Sleepers" helpful: ... nce-Guides
This information is general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for the personalized assistance that can be received from the Ngala Helpline by telephone.

For families residing in Western Australia you can also contact the
Ngala Helpline
Telephone 9368 9368 or 1800 111 546 for country access
Available 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm
or request a callback online

For helplines in other Australian states please follow this link
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