Getting your baby to bed into a regular bedtime routine could mean having an evening all to yourself. Not sure when or how to start? This guide to baby's bedtime should answer all your questions. Your browser cannot play this video. In the first few weeks of your baby 's life, having any sort of bedtime routine is pretty much impossible. Her body clock is yet to kick in, and many babies are virtually nocturnal.
When will you ever get to eat a meal with your husband again, let alone a hot one, you may ask. Will you ever be able to put your feet up and watch EastEnders all the way through? The answer is yes! Babies love routine — it's just a question of knowing when and how to get into a bedtime one that can be tricky. Read on for a helping hand When should I start a bedtime routine After what can be an unpredictable and relentless first few weeks with your baby, you may start to notice some patterns forming.
Of course, every baby is different otherwise this parenting lark would be a whole lot easier! It may become easier to predict when your baby is likely to sleep, and finally there are fewer evenings where you're pacing the floor in a vain attempt to send her off to the land of nod. At this point, introducing a bedtime routine can help make sure your baby gets the sleep he needs, and give you a bit of a break too.
Why start a bedtime routine? It may seem hard to believe if you're struggling with broken nights and are so tired you could sleep on a washing line, but by the age of two, your child will have spent half her life asleep. And there are good reasons why she needs so much shut-eye.
Sleep is essential for your baby's growth and development. It helps her nervous system develop, and means that she spends more of her waking hours in a state of alertness, where she's calm, interacting and learning all the time.
So, if your child wakes up at 7: Some Sids cases are reported to have occurred when parents following the advice not to bed-share have taken their babies on to a sofa and accidentally fallen asleep. This is a mid-step between the crib and a real bed.
When naps and night-time sleep are unpredictable, it can make it harder for your baby to fall asleep or stay asleep. This can lead to her becoming overtired and stressed. It's when they're asleep that babies produce the growth hormones that are so important for their normal development. Sleep helps to boost their immune system, too. A simple bedtime routine is often the key to helping your baby to sleep well.
Following the same steps each time you put him to bed can help to regulate her body clock, with the difference between light and dark helping to establish a regular sleep-wake schedule. Implementing a regular bedtime might feel like a real milestone — and that's because it is, so yay for you! Even if you were a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda gal pre-baby, most of us appreciate a little bit of time in the day that's just for us, even if we're just sorting the washing or unloading the dishwasher: It also potentially makes it easier for other people to put your baby to bed: When routines aren't right Of course, if you don't want to be bound by the rigidity of a routine, or think enforcing it is going to make you stressed, don't feel under pressure to start one.
You might decide you'd rather keep your baby up later so your partner can spend some time with him after work. Or maybe you co-sleep and don't fancy having to go to bed with your baby at 7. As long as you and your baby are both getting enough sleep to function, go with what suits you and your family best. How much sleep does your baby need? Some mums get lucky with a baby who loves her sleep; other children seem to survive on very little.
Different children will have different sleep needs, but a regular bedtime with a good routine will help her get the amount she needs. The NHS guidelines can help you gauge how much sleep your child needs so you can work out at what time to start her bedtime routine.
Our health visitors and nursery nurses are on line Monday to Friday evenings to answer your queries on feeding, sleep and child health. Ask our experts now How much sleep is recommended for babies Source: NHS So if your baby is 12 months old and you want him to sleep until 7am if only!
But you'll get to know what suits your baby: A typical bedtime routine, and when to start it Over time, you'll get to know the signs that your baby is tired.
Some fuss, cry, yawn and rub their eyes; others seem to become lively and overexcited. The trick is to work out when your baby is usually ready for sleep, and start your bedtime routine about an hour before that point.
Waiting until he's already tired before you begin means you run the risk of him being overtired by the time you finally put him down, and overtired babies tend not to sleep well. What your bedtime routine involves is entirely up to you, but the aim is to help your baby gradually wind down so that by the time you switch the lights out, he's ready to sleep.
A baby massage Changing her into a sleepsuit or pyjamas Brushing her teeth Dimming the lights in the nursery Giving her a final feed Reading a bedtime story Singing a lullaby or putting on her musical mobile Putting her into bed, making sure you're following safe sleep guidance like laying her on his back, with her feet at the foot of the cot if you use blankets Saying goodnight using a set phrase, such as, 'night night, sleep tight' The idea is that if you repeat the same steps night after night, your baby will begin to recognise that it's time to sleep.
Bring on the peaceful evenings Top tips for a bedtime routine that works Turn off the TV: TV interferes with the production of melatonin the sleep hormone too, making it harder to get to sleep.
Keep distractions to a minimum. By all means put your children in the bath together, but then get older siblings to do something else quietly while you settle your baby. Make a clear difference between day and night.
Unicef baby friendly publications The Lullaby Trust has worked with Unicef in the wording of two publications to support families and health professionals with the challenge of addressing co-sleeping, given the association with SIDS. A new sibling is on the way. Their sleep-wake cycles synchronize so that they both have low-stress, low-level arousals through the night.
During the day, keep the curtains open and don't worry about tiptoeing around the house at naptime. In the evening, shut the curtains, dim the lights and keep the volume down. This will regulate your baby's body clock and help her learn that night-time is sleep time.
If your baby has a late nap, she might not be tired by his usual bedtime. If she got up super-early, you may need to move her bedtime forward a bit. Aim to put your baby to bed sleepy, but not actually asleep.
If she gets used to falling asleep in your arms or during a feed, she'll need you to do the same every time she wakes and believe us, rocking a 25lb toddler to sleep is very different from rocking a newborn! And remember, you can always get tips and support from other mums on the topic of baby's bedtime, in our Coffeehouse forum
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