Bedtime routine for babies – When can you start?
By the time your baby is around 3 months old, you can already introduce a bedtime routine in the evening. A simple and consistent bedtime routine for babies will help your child to learn healthy sleep habits that will stand you both in a good and steady future.
Your main goal is to introduce a regular time for sleep that is best done between 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Any later than this time and your baby may become overtired and have tantrums. Keep your routine fairly short, to begin with, around 20 to 30 minutes will do.
Bedtime routine for babies – ways to introduce a bedtime routine
Consistency is the key to help your child get used to bedtime. A consistent bedtime routine for babies wills your baby’s body clock and helps her to establish a sleeping pattern. Your baby will be more relaxed and more likely to go to bed easily and fall asleep quickly. Bedtime routine for babies include the following:
- Playing a quiet game
- Getting ready for the warm bath before bed
- Changing her into her most comfortable nighties
- Singing her lullabies or reading her a book
- Giving her quiet and gentle massage
- Dimming the light
- Tuning on her mobile that plays quiet lullabies
It is truly up to each parent how they want their bedtime routine to be, as long as it is done in the nursery room and at the same time every night. While you can certainly start your routine in the bathroom or the living room, make sure you end it in the room where your baby sleeps. This will help your baby understand and link between her bedtime routing to falling asleep.
Set the tone for your baby’s sleep by turning off the television or any other distractive devices and winding down activities about half an hour before bedtime.
Bedtime routine for babies – the don’t’s
Whether you have an infant, toddler, a good bedtime routine for babies can be the difference between good sleep habits and a lot of sleepless nights. While many books can help you get your baby sleeping better, even though they all use different methods, it is important to notice that most of these parenting experts stress the key to a good bedtime routine for babies to get a good night’s rest. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics, with the book called “Guide to your child’s sleep” states it is almost impossible to overstress the importance of a calm, orderly bedtime routine for babies. If the above mentioned are the dos of the bedtime routine for babies here are a list of don’t’s:
- Don’t drag your baby out of your bedtime routine. If you are not careful, your child will drag out your bedtime routine much longer with repeated calls for drinks, snacks, or to use the bathroom. For infants, these can be cries for snuggles, feeding, or dancing her in your arms.
- Avoid stimulating activities just before bedtime routine. Especially if your child has trouble falling asleep, you should usually stop stimulating activities 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime, such as playing loud music, watching television, talking on the phone, or keeping all the lights on.
- Avoid poor sleep association. This includes things like rubbing your baby’s back until he falls asleep, having music playing or keeping the TV On since if your child learns to associate falling asleep with something like that, he will need help if he later wakes up.
- Don’t assume that your child will simply outgrow poor sleep habits. Unfortunately, if nothing is done, many children who have sleep problems as infants and toddlers continue to sleep poorly even once they start school. The sooner you fix your child’s poor sleep habits, including starting a good bedtime routine for babies, the better.
Bedtime routine for babies – how much does a baby need to sleep?
Just like adults babies sleep patterns vary. From birth, some babies need more sleep or less sleep than others. The list below shows the average amount of sleep babies and children need during a 24-hour period, including daytime naps.
Bedtime routine for babies – newborn sleep needs
Most newborn babies are asleep more than they are awake, this is due to the child’s development both physically and mentally. Newborns wake up to feed, their need to feed is greater than their need to sleep, therefore when they are hungry they wake up. Some babies stay awake up to 45 to 60 minutes after a nap, others stay awake longer because they sleep longer as well. This all depends on your baby, and not all babies are the same.
Bedtime routine for babies – sleep requirements at 3 to 6-month-old
As your baby grows, they will need fewer night feeds and will be able to sleep for a longer period of time during the night. Although some babies will sleep for 8 hours or longer at night, not all, by 4 months old, they may be spending around twice as long sleeping at night as they do during the day.
Bedtime routine for babies – sleep requirements for 3 to 6 months old
For babies aged 6 months to a year, night feeds many no longer be necessary and some babies will sleep for up to 12 hours at night. Teething discomfort or hunger may wake some babies up during the night.
Bedtime routine for babies – sleep requirements from 12 months
Babies will sleep around 12 to 15 hours in total after their first birthday.
Bedtime routine for babies – sleep aids and sleep gadgets to help you bring a calm, soothing, and quiet bedtime for your baby
When coping with disturb nights it is if you have a partner, ask them to help you. If you are formula feeding, encourage your partner to share the feeds. If you are breastfeeding, ask your partner to take over the early morning changing and dressing so you can go back to sleep. Once you are into a good breastfeeding routine, your partner could occasionally give a bottle of expressed breast milk during the night. To help you ease your night time, fortunately, there are sleep gadgets to help you soothe your baby night time. These sleep gadgets are wonderful sleep aid, helping babies to calm down and stay asleep longer. The choices are endless and knowing what to look for can be challenging. So, the best thing to do is ask for advice, or simply read the reviews on the products that you have in mind. Join a group for parents, which could really be helpful for new parents, you share and learn new things from these groups.
Here is a list of baby sleep gadgets to help parents establish a good and healthy bedtime routine for babies.