Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Why I Don't Want My Baby to "Self Settle"

My son is 15 months old and still needs me to put him to sleep and I LOVE THAT.

I have never understood the idea behind self settling and teaching babies to fall asleep on their own, especially when they're so young and don't have the ability to understand why.

Once he stopped feeding to sleep (on his own) around 8-10 months, we made a night time routine that worked for us and has continued to work for us.

  • Dinner
  • Play
  • Shower
  • Book
  • Lay in bed together with a bottle
  • Sing/ cuddle to sleep (for the last three months, he actually needs to be holding my face to fall asleep)

Why are we all in such a rush to drop the cuddles and insist on them falling asleep by themselves in their cot. It won't last forever. And even if we have to do it until they're five, honestly what is wrong with that? What is wrong with your child wanting to cuddle their parent so they can fall asleep? And I reference Pink McKay when I say "We all have sleep associations, we don’t bat an eyelid about our own quirks or needs around what helps us sleep. Yet, with even a very young baby, there is pressure to ‘teach your baby to self-settle’ – to fall asleep without any help from you."

I have never let my son cry until he fell asleep and I never will. 
We don't co sleep. Once I transfer him in to his cot, he will most nights sleep through until 7am the next day with one or two wake ups for a bottle (I'm assuming this is because he is SUPER active and just needs more food).

If my son is crying in the middle of the night (which he still does every now and then) , I am going to attend to him because there is something wrong which could be the following:
  • he's wet
  • he's hungry
  • he's done a poo
  • he is cold
  • he is hot
  • his leg is caught in the cot
  • he's in pain

Why would I let him cry that out? He needs me and I will be there to fix whatever the problem is so he can be comfortable and go back to sleep peacefully and happy.

There is so much pressure these days to have a baby that self settles? WHY?
 I am so glad I ignored all of that right from the start. To be honest it was mainly because I loved that he wanted me to help him fall asleep but now I really understand why. I refer you to this Pink McKay article here. And when you read it, it may help you to understand even more, like I do now. They need us for a reason and as Pinky says. we are taking care of a child, not managing an inconvenience. HEY, I have worked full time since Achilles was four months old, if sleep was my first priority over my son, I very well could have sleep trained him to self settle. BUT I chose to have a baby, I choose to look after him to the best of my ability and put every ounce of effort in to ensuring he is happy. If I am sleep deprived, but he is happy, I'm still one happy Mumma.

Whilst saying all of this, every single baby is completely different, there are some babies who will fall asleep by themselves and don't want to be cuddled to sleep. We are all different, they are all different and just remember that next time you compare yourself to someone else who's baby is sleeping through or who can put themselves to sleep.

I refuse to give in to the pressure of anyone who tells me I am 'teaching my son bad habits' or 'not teaching him a vital skill'. When he is ready, he's ready and I will not be the one to decide that for him.

Pinky also talks about giving your baby opportunities to learn a new skill rather than pushing them in to it.

Sure, every now and then I will pop Achilles down in his cot rather than in our room to see how it goes. Sometimes it works, others it doesn't, he's not ready so neither am I. 

It will happen when they're ready. Don't rush them (or yourselves) just because an article tells you your baby should be falling asleep by themselves. 

Keep smiling

Tahana xo 


  1. Everyone does what they think is best for their child/children. I'm glad you're listening to your own instincts and doing what is best for your family.

    I had twins first off and considered myself lucky that they self settled without me having to teach them to do this. They were just always happy to go to bed. Mind you they slept in the same room and initially in the same bed so they always had company. When my third child followed not too far behind the fact that my twins didn't need me to settle them was a blessing. Obviously if any of them cried during the night I'd be there to find out why and feed/change/cover them etc as required.


  2. It's whatever works and what you feel comfortable with. Personally I do a little bit of both. But at the end of the day I listen to what the kids want. If it's been a rough day or they have been unwell I will be cuddle to sleep but if everything is fine I don't have an issue letting them have a little grizzle before going to sleep. Of course there is a difference between screaming and grizzling... I just wanted to clear that up lol.

    Bec | Beauty With Bec

  3. This isnt my expertise but good on you for doing whats right for you!

  4. Love the sentiment behind this! M is going through separation anxiety at the moment so we co-slept for a month while we were away and for 2 weeks after getting back when she was getting over the jetlag. She didn't understand what was going on and I wasn't going to stress her out even more. Now she's happily going back into the routine of the cot but she still likes me to be there to fall asleep which is A-OK with me!

  5. Though I have no experience being a parent, it seems like these trends come and go and if you don't get on board, people criticise. It is ridiculous! Whatever happened to just using common sense to raise your child? You seem to be doing a fantastic job! :)

  6. You're so right. You should totally enjoy this time with your little one. Before you know it he'll be grown up and won't want cuddles from mum :-(

  7. Aww, so sweet! I think its gorgeous that he loves cuddles with his mumma so much, its such a precious time and your absolutely right, you need to enjoy every moment while it lasts! Xx

    Kez |