Building a Baby Bedtime Routine
We normalise behaviours, then we accept them until we adapt to them, one could say that they are done almost in a mechanical way, without adding much thought, and we repeat them because of the comfort that we get from them.
Routines and rituals matter — as the creatures of comfort that we are, is important to create well-structured routines to help us familiarise with time and to find knowledge about ourselves.
There is comfort in what we know and the unknown can add abrupt changes, especially into baby routines which might provoke unsettling responses, keep in mind that your baby is developing further and is exploring the likes, dislikes and what is soothing and what causes discomfort. Every baby is unique, so we can’t give you a recipe to sleep, but it’s more about figuring out what suits your little one’s preferences when it comes to bed time, so here are some bedtime suggestions:
- Set up a time to start the routine, your little one will adapt to the timing and their internal clock will build the foundations of their sleep routine from it. The routine doesn’t need to be over elaborate; we recommend you to cover the basics of bathing, feeding, change of nappy and a soothing bonding activity.
- Bathing your baby will not only relax them but also influence their sleep hygiene, which is proven to affect the quality of rest we get during sleeping. So a warm bath is often helpful to swipe the stress accumulated on their little bodies. Applying lotion followed by a bath can help your baby to feel even more relaxed.
- When it comes to feeding, newborns tend to sleep while embraced by mother, but once your baby reaches four months of age it is recommendable to not rely on feeding as a sleeping tool. Your baby is learning everything, so avoid making them dependent on food to get to sleep. Instead try feeding your little one a little earlier before bedtime, later on you can proceed to change their nappy and lay them down clean and ready for bed.
- Once your baby is comfortable, clean and fed try a calm activity to stimulate their sleep, you can either lie with them and tell them a story or read a book, singing a lullaby is also very popular in the parenting world. Any other interaction without provoking physical activity will help too, babies have a huge response to a mother’s voice and they find a deep sense of safety from them which helps to relax them before sleep. Not only are reading and singing soothing to your baby but it is also proven that it can boost language skills, as with every human relationship with baby’s communication is very valuable too. If you are not good at singing (like many of us!) there are many lullaby albums that will put your baby on his way to sleep.
- After completing one of the previous activities, you will notice drowsiness taking over your baby, allow him to discover self-soothing techniques, lie them on their crib and eventually they will know how to fall sleep by themselves, you can continue talking to them or caressing their foreheads so they won’t get a feeling of abandonment. The importance of the routine lies in sleep hygiene and those moments of bonding times. Tt takes patience but is nothing you won’t be able to achieve over time.
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