From Being Soothed To Self-Soothing To Sleep
by Heidi Holvoet

You know how the fastest way to reassure your baby when there's a crazy loud BANG 💥 outside, is to show you heard, and then giggle, laugh it away? Maybe wave your hand and a silly eye roll? 🤭🙄

Mom holding baby to sleep

That's a beautiful example of you and your baby co-regulating.

And it's one of the most important things you do for your baby, every day.

Co-regulation is how your baby learns to self-regulate, psychologists tell us.

It's a process that starts at birth and takes years to fully complete.

And it's super fascinating as this co-regulate + self-regulate process, results in how your baby will react and deal with not only loud noises but all new experiences, interactions with other kids, dealing with their emotions, with physical discomfort, when trying something new, and...

... self-soothe to sleep 💛

Clinical psychologist and member of our team here, Tessa Marks phrases it like this:

"Each time you help soothe your baby, you're building the neural networks they need in their brain to help them learn the invaluable skills of self-soothing"

Tessa Marks, Clinical Psychologist

OK so then, you might ask,

How do we go from being helped with sleeping, to self-soothing to sleep?

The short answer is: we transition gradually but surely.

The longer answer:

  • We use co-regulation cleverly and offer ideally timed independent-sleep techniques in the right order.

    This is how we can make that transition from co- to self-regulating happen, and see sustained results, without any crying as part of the process.
  • Supportive measures (i.e. everything that's outside of direct sleep skills, but contributes immensely to self-soothing progress) come into play as well. It's a process that you can work with between 3 months and 3 years old.
  • I detail every step of this process in the recorded webinar: Self-Soothing To Sleep Without Crying
    (recorded i.e. it's ready and instantly available for you to watch, and start applying the process + you get unlimited access to me to ask your questions as and when suits you; async in writing).

    It's truly hands-on, and set up to start applying right away, as and when you're ready.

    One mom to a 10 month old baby girl wrote this just a few days after watching: "Thanks Heidi! I watched the webinar and it was very helpful! I've already been able to stop nursing my daughter to sleep and put her down drowsy!" - M.

    Pros and cons of helping your baby to sleep

    I'm curious about your thoughts about co-regulation. Are you used to seeing it as this helpful and important stage in your baby's self-soothing journey?

    I think it's a reassuring reminder-to-self while you're helping your little one settle and stay asleep.

    I know it may feel uneasy, or you might even feel they'll never be able to sleep independently.

    But they can and they will: know that you're supporting them right now, through co-regulation, and that you'll use that to support them with the next steps, toward more and more independent sleep

    I also know that constantly helping your little one sleep can be extremely difficult for you. It's tiring, both physically and emotionally, and for some it can leave you little or no time for yourself 😕

    Know that I'm not dismissing that, it's something I talk about and offer action steps for in the webinar, so please know that it's not out of reach for you.

    Reach out below if you have any questions about this! And have a look at the Self-Soothing webinar details to see if it's for you. 

    x Heidi

    💛 Comments? Questions? Join the friendly, supportive discussion on Rested! our beloved private community platform, free to join.

    Gorgeous photo by Monica Turlui