How to Wean a Baby Off of Falling Asleep in a Swing
Swings can be life savers in the early days of having a new baby. The constant rocking motion can soothe babies back to sleep. However, most babies grow out of their swings by 4 to 6 months of age, either because they have become too large for the swing or because they have reached a phase where they are developmentally able to form healthier sleep habits.
Slowly Lessen the Rocking
Babies are soothed by the rocking of the swing. The Sleep Store recommends starting to wean your baby off the swing by slowly lessening the amount of rocking 2. Change the setting on the swing to the lowest speed and allow your baby to become accustomed to the lower amount of rocking. Then try allowing your baby to rock in the swing until she is drowsy instead of fully asleep 2. Turn the rocking off when she is drowsy and allow her to fall asleep the rest of the way in the still swing.
Move Baby to Your Arms
Once your baby has become accustomed to less rocking, take her out of the swing. By rocking her in your arms, you can control when and how much to rock her a little easier, and you can start to transition her to a crib or other sleep surface. The Sleep Store recommends rocking until your baby is drowsy or just calm and then putting her in the crib and providing firm pressure on her tummy until she falls asleep 12. Patting and shushing can also help her to fall asleep in the crib. Over time, these techniques can also be lessened until she can just be placed in the crib and allowed to fall asleep.
Establish Other Sleep Associations
Creating a positive sleep environment can help your baby to fall asleep outside of her swing 2. The way a baby falls asleep is the way she expects to be put to sleep each time, according to the Ask Dr. Sears website 1. That means that if she is rocked to sleep, she will want to be rocked each time she wakes. Instead, you can create other sleep associations by creating a positive sleep environment. This may include making it dark in the room by hanging blackout curtains, playing white noise or lullabies, and laying your baby in a comfortable bed. Ask Dr. Sears also recommends keeping the temperature at 70 degrees.
Sometimes you might be tired and will be tempted to just put your baby in the swing for an easy bed time 2. Doing so can set back your efforts and create even more work for you. Consistency is key to your success. Any deviation from your routine could confuse your baby and make the weaning process take longer, according to the Sleep Store. Be consistent and you will see results more quickly.
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