Iowa Sleep Blog

Infants, Self Soothe or Intervene

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Temple University Researchers have added to the Journal of Developmental Psychology by giving us a little hint on what to do when our baby or infants cry out at night.  Should we allow them to self soothe or intervene?  Here is what their guidelines suggest.

  • Infants with genetic or constitutional factors, such as those with "difficult temperaments", seem to have sleeping problems early on in life. Professor Marsha Weinraub stated "Families who are seeing sleep problems persist past 18 months should seek advice."
  • Babies need to learn how to fall asleep unaided. If a mother tunes into these awakenings during the night, or if the infant is used to falling asleep while being breastfed, they might not be learning how to self-soothe. Knowing how to self-soothe is a vital skill for regular sleep, the authors wrote.

Key points of this research are developing a definite evening routine and sticking with it.  Put your infant to bed at a regular time every night and allow them to fall asleep on their own.   It is best to resist the urge to respond to their awakening right away. 

There is always a delicate balance with raising a child.  You will begin to learn what your infant needs and how they respond in different circumstances.  Trust your instincts.