Tuesday, 18 October 2016

How to Establish a Bed Time Routine for Baby

The best time of the day has arrived! It's finally bed time. You're exhausted, I know, and all you want is for baby to go to sleep peacefully, without a fuss, without crying, and then to stay asleep for as long as possible.

Does baby know that it's bed time too? By developing a routine that you implement each night your baby will begin to recognize that the day is winding down and it's soon time for bed. 

My own children love a schedule. They take comfort in the familiar and knowing what is going to happen next. Sometimes it's a battle to get the process started, but once we kick off the first step of our routine, they start to relax.  As babies, our children followed the following basic routine: 

1. Warm Bath: we don't necessarily use soap or wash their hair each night, but warm water is soothing and helps make babies sleepy;

2. Boob or bottle: Immediately following their bath and putting on their onesies, we rocked them in a chair with milk;

4. Song or book: we sang them lullabies while they drank their milk and we always finished with the same familiar song. Reading a story, even the same story every night, works well too;

5. Change diaper;

6. Swaddle or sleepsack, or however else you ready baby for bed;

7. Bed.

[A tip that has worked for us: Past the newborn stage, my children were awake when I put them into bed. We never rocked them to sleep and they therefore learned how to put themselves to sleep early on.]

Knowing the routine prepares baby for bed so that he is less resistant to it. Routines need not be time consuming and can be adapted to suit your style. For example, taking your child for a walk before bed as the first part of a routine so that he can benefit from fresh air is a great idea, but may be exhausting for you. Giving a bath every night may also be exhausting. The most important thing is consistency. So choose a routine that you will stick to, try to start it at the same time each night and perform it in the same order each time. 

Other bedtime routine ideas:
Wash baby's face, baby massage, talk quietly about what she experienced that day, say goodnight to all objects in the room and outside, play music.

Feel free to comment below with bedtime routines that have worked for you and which you would like to share with other parents.

Happy sleeping! ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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