The first 4 months of life is a good time to help your baby develop a healthy sleep pattern. If your baby learns to settle back to sleep without your help - you can avoid problems with settling & waking later on. This is called 'independent sleep'.
Self-soothing is a key contributor to independent sleep.
A baby achieve independent sleep when he/she:
Around 60% of babies sleep independently by 6 months of age.
Self-soothing enables your baby to re-settle between sleep cycles, therefore achieving better quality & longer periods of sleep.
This is when your baby is able to manage their own emotions (calm down, fall asleep & stay asleep) without the assistance of a parent. You cannot really teach your baby to self-soothe. What you CAN do is give your baby the tools to be able to self-soothe to manage their own emotions & achieve independent sleep.
A key tool that babies use to self-soothe is by sucking. The Love To Swaddle UPTM give your baby access to their hands for sucking. Other swaddles can restrict your baby's arms & hands by having them wrapped down by their side, across their chest or under their chin. These swaddles do not allow your baby to have access to their hands to self-soothe and therefore may not work as effectively.
Thumb sucking is a healthy self-comforting pattern. A fetus sucks his thumb. A newborn is equipped with the hand-to-mouth or Babkin reflex. When he is upset or trying to settle down, he will resort to this as a way of controlling himself. The pattern seems built in. babies who make use of it are easier to live with. SOURCE:- Dr T Berry Brazelton, MD author of "thouchpoints - The Essential Reference"
Infants need access to their hands for self-soothing. Sucking is the most orientating behaviour for a newborn, and the normal newborn has been observed post delivery to get his hand to his mouth within thirty minutes of birth. By vigorously sucking on his hands, a baby can communicate with a caregiver that he is hungry, and as such, sucking is one of the first baby cues or early forms of communication. SOURCE:- Dr Kathryn Barnard, PhD, FAAN, Winner of the Gustav O. Lienhard Award and leading infant researcher
A new baby's natural position is with her arms bent at the elbow and her legs flexed. Wrap her like this, making no attempt to straighten her out before you start. Above all, leave her hands where she can suck them if she wants to and is able to do so. SOURCE:- Penelope Leach, PhD, research psychologist specializing in child development. "Your Baby and Child", pg 18 - the Newborn 2003