Last updated January 8th, 2021
As a parent, if you’re wondering how to wean your baby off rocking to sleep, there are a few key points to keep in mind to change their habit. While rocking is a reliable method to help your baby fall asleep, there will eventually come a time when this will have to change.
During the first few weeks to months of a baby’s life, he or she is probably sleeping in a bassinet or crib that is placed in your room.
Rocking your baby helps him, or her feel safer and more secure, calming him or her to a level where it is easier to fall asleep. The close contact of holding and rocking your baby and the rhythmic movement helps to relax them.
As your baby starts to sleep through the night more regularly, it is time to encourage him or her to develop a bit more independence. Once children reach around a year of age, you might be thinking about transitioning him or her to a crib in his or her own room.
At this time, it is time to wean him or her off of rocking to sleep. There are a few steps that you should follow.
Table of Contents
Introduce Other Calming Methods During Bedtime
The first step is to introduce other calming methods that can take the place of your rhythmic rocking. Your baby is used to being rocked to sleep, and if you don’t replace it with something else, it will be harder for your child to fall asleep at night.
For example, you might want to introduce some calming music into your child’s sleep routine. This music will provide your child with something soothing to listen to as he or she falls asleep. This music aims to help your child feel secure, so think about the sound of the music carefully. Some albums have been specifically designed for babies who are trying to fall asleep. You can also consider the popular option of a white noise machine.
Check price on Amazon
Check price on Amazon
You might also want to introduce a calming scent in the room. Lavender is a popular option, as this will help your child relax as he or she falls asleep. Aromatherapy can act as a great sleep aid for your baby.
Finally, think about providing your child with a small, soft, sensory blanket that can help him or her feel safe. Sometimes, very light weighted blankets can work as well. Wrap your baby in the blanket because this will provide him or her with a sense of safety and security, a warm touch resembling that of mom or dad.
Introducing some of these good habits will create a better sleep cue for them when it’s time to go down for the night (or even naptime).
Read Your Child a Comforting Sleep Book
For your child to fall asleep, you still need to be with him or her before he or she goes to sleep. This is a critical part of the new sleep plan transition. Sit next to his or her crib after wrapping your child in the blanket. Then, read a short story. Speak softly and watch as your child falls asleep. Use this as you transition away from rocking using the method below.
Check price on Amazon
Log Your Rocking Times and Wean Gradually
Once you have introduced other calming methods into your child’s bedtime routine, it is time to wean him or her off of rocking. There is a method that you should follow to make sure this transition is as smooth as possible. Consistency and commitment to the method are important.
The transitioning steps are:
- Rock your child as you normally would for two weeks after introducing the other calming methods as well as the story. During this time, write down how long you rock him or her every night.
- After two weeks, begin to shorten the duration regarding how long your rock your child.
- If you normally rock your child for ten minutes before putting him or her down, rock him or her for ten minutes on the first night.
- The next night, rock him or her for eight minutes before placing him or her down.
- The following night, rock him or her for six minutes.
- After this, rock him or her for four minutes.
- On the next night, rock your baby for two minutes.
- Do not rock your child after this.
Overall, this transition from normally rocking to eliminating rocking should take about a week. If you find that your child is still a bit fussy after you rock him or her for the designated number of minutes, then hold him or her without rocking, to ensure your little one’s well being. This will help your child get used to the idea of going to sleep without rocking.
As with other baby habits that you are trying to break, the goal is to develop a smooth, gradual transition that prevents your child from having to go without rocking cold turkey. This is more likely to lead to a successful transition and alleviate some of the stress that you might feel otherwise.
Wean Your Child Off Rocking Successfully
Your child is used to the comfort and safety of being rocked. Therefore, as you gradually remove rocking, you should introduce something else. This is why reading books, providing soft music, wrapping him or her in a security blanket, and using soothing scents can all play an important role in helping your child fall asleep on her own.
Even though rocking your child to sleep can be effective, once your child reaches a year of age, it is time to think about weaning this process away. These gradual steps can help you wean your child off of rocking to sleep successfully.