Tina’s tips for Establishing a healthy bedtime routine.
It’s so important to read your baby's cues and recognise how much awake time they can cope with before showing signs of tiredness. This will very much depend on the age of your baby. From birth, babies tire very easily and some even struggle with 45 minutes of being awake before needing sleep again.
With each month that passes, you will notice your baby steadily increasing the amount of happy and contented awake time they can handle.
Most babies of around 6 months can cope with a 3-hour awake window before needing to nap.
I like to follow a sequence of events that leads up to bedtime. This enables your baby to recognise what is going to happen next.
For example, read a book (don't worry if the baby is too irritated or tired) you can move on to the next stage.
Bath time shouldn't take too long unless he/she is happy. I normally suggest 20-40 minutes from start to finish depending on their age.
A bath really helps to relax the baby, reduces the body's core temperature and helps to induce sleep.
Keep the bedroom dark, and play the same music. Personally, I prefer white noise to lullabies but you'll soon discover what your little one prefers.
Not only is this a cue for sleepy time but will drown out any other noise that could be going on in the family home like older siblings or pets. Babies definitely seem happier with some background noise rather than silence.
The temperature of the room should be around 18-21 degrees.
I normally suggest the baby wears 3 layers to bed. For example, a vest, long-sleeved/legged babygro and a 2.5 tog gro bag or similar. Most gro bags are for babies from 10lb in weight.
I normally offer a split feed, so a breastfeed from one boob before the bath and the second boob afterwards.
If your baby is bottle fed then offer half of the quantity of milk before and the remainder once dressed and ready for bed.
I suggest avoiding any stimulating activities once the baby has been bathed. Also, avoid TV, tablet or any blue light used for at least one hour before bed.
It's important your baby feels, safe, comfortable and loved and that you are responsive to your baby's needs. It takes time, consistency and patience to build a healthy sleep schedule so please be patient and you will soon see improvement.
Some easy mistakes to make are changing patterns too soon. Giving up on consistency or just misreading signals from your little one.
Not adapting to the baby's developmental milestones can also create issues with settling and healthy sleep. Soon enough you will all benefit from a solid stretch of sleep overnight.
For help getting your baby into a healthy bedtime routine reach out to Tina from Sleep Baby Sleep by following the link below.
Member since: 10th July 2012
I've lived in St Neots since I was 13, and boy how it's changed. I'm always looking to promote everything great in and around our town.
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