How to settle a new baby during the First Three Months

Tresillian uses responsive settling strategies. The techniques provided here will encourage you to respond promptly and sensitively to your baby’s needs.

Tresillian’s settling strategy

We use the following cues to signal when to implement our responsive settling strategies:

  • Distress
  • Non-verbal cues
  • States of consciousness
  • Active and quiet sleep
  • Drowsiness
  • Wakefulness

Soothing in arms (very early weeks)

  • Wrap baby or use a sleeping bag with fitted arm holes, and no hood (in accordance with Red Nose SUDI guidelines).
  • Hold your baby in your arms until he falls
  • Use gentle rhythmic patting, rocking, stroking, talking or softly singing, before putting your baby into the cot asleep. These repetitions signal relaxation and
  • If your baby wakes after a sleep cycle, you may need to resettle using the strategies listed

Hands-on settling (from birth to six months)

  • Wrap baby or use a sleeping bag with fitted arm holes, and no
  • Talk quietly and cuddle your baby to help calm and relax
  • Put your drowsy baby on his back in the
  • Comfort your baby with gentle ‘ssshhh’  sounds,  and/or gentle rhythmic patting, rocking or stroking until he is calm   or nearly
  • If your baby starts to fuss loudly, pick him up for a cuddle until calm or asleep, before putting him back in the
  • Stay with your baby until he is nearly
  • If he becomes unsettled and fussing, return to the
  • Repeat comforting your baby in the cot until he is
  • If needed, pick him up and cuddle until calm or
  • Leave the room when your baby is

These strategies will help your baby to settle and relax into sleep during the first three months, particularly if you’re worried or having some difficulties trying to settle him.

The first three months are when he needs the most help and reassurance from you for most of his daily care. Every experience is so new and different; he needs you to help him through it, gently and kindly. As he ventures through his new home and family, he needs you to be his personal tour guide and translator. Sometimes, when it all gets a bit overwhelming for him, he needs his tour guide to take him back to the hotel for a relaxing time-out.


Tresillian the First three monthsIt’s never too late to look for help.  Filled with sensible, reassuring advice, the new Tresillian Book The First Three Months aims to help parents understand the reality of life with a newborn.

This extract has been taken from Tresillian’s The First Three Months (HarperCollins Publishers RRP$34.99) available now online direct from Tresillian or from your local bookshop. Part of the proceeds of this book go to Tresillian, Australia’s largest early parenting organisation providing advice and guidance to thousands of families over 100 years.

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