Why This Baby Sleep Expert Doesn’t Like the Term ‘Self-Soothe’

baby self soothing

From the moment you found out you were having a baby, you were inundated with tips and suggestions. (“Rub the baby’s gums with brandy!” Sure thing, Aunt Jean.) And one of the most pervasive? “Make sure she knows how to self-soothe.” 

Great advice. But what does that mean exactly? 

Well, it can mean different things to different people. That’s exactly why baby sleep expert Cara Dumaplin of Taking Cara Babies doesn’t use the term in her classes or on her social media channels

For some parents, self-soothe elicits images of letting a baby cry in her crib all night long. For others, it might mean teaching your child to pop his pacifier back in on his own. Or maybe it’s giving your mini a few minutes to settle herself back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night before picking her up. In other words, it’s a loaded term. 

“I never want to use a word like self-soothe that makes moms go, ‘Oh, you want me to neglect my baby,’” Dumaplin tells us.  

Instead, she prefers to teach babies how to “put themselves to sleep,” using different methods depending on where they are developmentally. 

Makes a lot of sense, no? Now try explaining that to Aunt Jean.

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...