Like most new parents, we have several tales and experiences to share when it comes to the biggest battle of our life – the bedtime battle.
In an attempt to establish a bedtime routine for our babies, we tried several hacks, different tricks and it was at 10 months that we hit victory!
And you want to know the secret to it ? Well, it was the repeatitive nature of our exact actions every night before bed that helped us establish a bedtime routine for our babies. Human brains take cue from this practice very fast and it’s all the more powerful in babies.
So here I am sharing our carefully crafted 40-minutes long sequence of events that we have been following as a bedtime routine for our babies.
What’s the best time to introduce a bedtime routine for a baby?
Somehow the terms “routine” and “baby” don’t sound to go hand in hand. With the arrival of the little one, there’s so much action all around that parents tend to overlook the bigger picture and focus is only to ensure that the baby and new mommy is able to catch up sleep. But in reality, structuring a bedtime routine for a baby as young as 4-6 months is the best. It helps regulate baby’s body clock and establish sleep pattern.
Simple Tips on establishing Bedtime Routine for your Baby
1. Choose the right Bedtime and start preparing backwards
This typicaly would revolve around parents’ routine but an ideal sleep time for babies should be between 8 pm to 10 pm. A typical bedtime routine would be from 20 minutes to 40 minutes. Structure that time frame according to the baby’s sleep time.
2. Goodnight Wish
Inculcate a habit of the baby wishing “goodnight” or just waving to other family members before entering the bedroom. This is the first step towards giving a signal to the baby that it’s time to sleep.
3. Keep a watch on Over Stimulation
It’s best to keep your tone and actions soft and mellowed once you are in the bedroom. This is a wind-down process and helps giving cues to the baby.
Remember – the power of a bedtime routine is how you do things rather than what you do.
4. Create a Ritual
You can’t simply put the baby in bed and ask him to close eyes & sleep. It doesn’t work that way! Having a designated routine would ensure a gradual transition of baby’s mind & body in sleep mode.
Think about some bedtime rituals that are simple, short and can be kept consistent. We have been following these :
Shower– While I haven’t been consistent with massage and shower before bedtime because at times kids get over-stimulated in bath tub with all the splashing around.
But we give them a quick clean up by washing face, hands and feet.
Brushing teeth – I am glad we have been sticking to this extremely important step before bedtime.
Changing into Pyjamas – Nothing like getting into bed in a fresh set of clothes.Having a designated night dress helps the baby understand the concept of bedtime.
Read together– Books essentially Bedtime Books are a great way of spending time with the baby just before putting her to sleep. The snuggles and hugs are soothing and calming not just for the baby but for parents as well.
Music/Lullaby– These are some tried & tested ways of to help the baby drift off.
Soft soothing melodies, especially if sung by parents, work wonders for a comfortable sound sleep for the baby.
Soft Strokes– If you miss out on massaging the baby’s legs with oil, just softly clasp and stroke the legs while the baby is in bed. Children from 7 months onwards have increased physical activity. Gently caressing legs helps soothe the baby.Go Mommy Tip : If parents can take turns with the baby bedtime routine now, your child is less likely to want—or demand—to only be put to bed by Mommy when she reaches toddlerhood.
5. Keep the Tummy full
Ensure the baby is well fed before putting him to sleep.
6. Lights out
Babies don’t feel scared in the dark as much as we do possibly! Going for dark is best for getting your infants body in sleep mode as darkness helps to trigger sleep hormones. However avoid leaving the baby alone in dark. Stay around for a bit to comfort the little one till he feels drowsy.
7. Avoid Sleep Associations
Feeding the baby to sleep or rocking the baby are some of the most commost bad sleep associations that we parents fall prey to.
Why? Because it just seems easier at that moment. However once done, the baby would demand this every time he wakes up – every night!
We have gone through really difficult times because of this mistake. However it was not very late that we got on the right track. We started simply placing the babies in the cot while we would sit around till they appeared drowsy and then gradually retreat.Go Mommy Tip : Once we decided to stop the practice of rocking the babies to sleep, we applied another strategy. We started having a chat amongst ourselves while the kids would be around us in the bed/cot just listening to us. This gave us ample time to have a conversation and worked great as sleep inducer for the little ones!
This may sound so simple that it goes without saying… but the key to a good routine is keeping the routine. Try and stick to the bedtime routine as much as possible. I asssure you 100% that a routine will work if you keep at it.
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