A good baby bedtime routine is key for getting little ones to sleep, & this baby sleep-time guide in 5 simple steps is perfect for introducing & helping to develop the perfect nighttime schedule for babies & toddlers.
1. Set a specific time to start your bedtime wind down . . . and stick to it. Babies love routine be it play, eating, or sleep. Sounds simple right, but sometimes life can get in the way of your well-made plans! But by establishing a routine at a young age (around their 6th to 8th week) the more receptive to your schedule they'll be, in fact, a consistent bedtime is the best way to get your little one to sleep through the night getting quality sleep. If you have a little hiccup in your schedule along the way, don't worry just get straight back into the routine the next day.
2. Prepare the room. Before you bring them into the room, shut the curtains, make sure the room is at the right temperature, around 16-18C. Turn the lights off or put their night-light on, switch on their white noise machine if you use one (we find a fan works wonders) to mimic the noise they were used to in the womb. However, you prepare the room for baby's bedtime the point here is that you prepare the room before you start the bedtime process so you're minimising noise & disturbance when it comes time to put them down. There's no point getting them calm & drowsy them drawing the curtains and startling them!
3. Give your child a warm bath. No splashing & toys, think calm & relaxed. At our house, we switch the bathroom lights off & turn on our little one's light projector so he gets to float around the bath (gently guided by us) whilst watching stars & galaxies shine on the ceiling (I know sounds amazing right. . . not jealous at all!) After, if you can find the time, you can also add a baby massage using baby oil warmed in your hands. (Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that infants and toddlers given a daily massage 15 minutes prior to bedtime slept better than those who didn't). Before putting them into their bedtime clothes. This process helps them wind down & helps them learn it's time for bed.
4. Give them their last feed of the day, I always warm up the last bottle up (only as I imagine it's more soothing), if they're older offer a snack such as honey on toast, or a banana with nut butter, a healthy bedtime snack that combines proteins & carbs like these form amino acids that act like tryptophan (the chemical that makes you sleepy) that can not only keep your little ones from waking early but also help them fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. For more on bedtime snacks for little ones check out our post; Healthy Bedtime Snacks for Toddlers
5. Read a favourite story to your child whilst they are comforted with their favourite teddy, soother or dummy if you use one. Or play them their favourite song. After a hug & kiss put your baby down on their back whilst still drowsy, not asleep, so if little one wakes during the night they will find they are in the same place as when they drifted off & not be confused or upset that they have been moved.
I hope you can find a tip or two from our 5 step sleep post, remember to keep your bedtime routine, consistent, short, and predictable & if you have any ideas you think we should add please let us know over on Facebook:
Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite.