Much has been written about the importance of ensuring that your infant is in a sleeping routine. However if you have a fussy sleeper, this can often be easier said than done. It’s never too early to begin this routine, and you’ll find that it has a calming effect on the whole family.
Children need routines, and your baby will be much more relaxed if she knows what comes next in the steps leading up to bed. The more relaxed your baby is, the more likely she’ll fall asleep quickly and stay asleep without fussing. It’s also an excellent way to make travelling easier, as your baby will be able to fall asleep in unfamiliar surroundings.
Here are some tips to help you start a sleeping routine:
Keep it simple
For young babies you may not want an elaborate routine. Simply give them a bath, diaper change and song or story, and put them down for bed. It’s also important that you make their bedroom a nice place, and do some of the routine in the bedroom, teaching them that the bedroom isn’t just a place thy have to stay at bedtime.
Teach them the difference between day and night
Often babies can get their days and nights mixed up, sleeping for long periods during the day, and perking up in time for the sun to go down.
During the day, keep the house nice and bright. At night it should be quiet and dim. Don’t talk much to your baby during night feedings, and instead let them learn that night is for sleeping, while the day is for talking and playing.
Put their routine first
If you’re trying to establish a sleep routine, it’s important to stick to it, and not deviate from it with outings which make naptime later, vacations which change their environment, and meals at different times. Consistency is key when it comes to routines.
Make sure their surroundings are comfortable
It’s key that your baby feels calm and relaxed in their room and bed. Choose soothing colours, soft materials, and a room which is on the quiet side of the house. There are so many moses-baskets, beds and cribs for babies on the market that it can be a little overwhelming to choose one which will be comfortable and still suit your budget. See range on Tesco for some great ideas.
Take it slow
You’re unlikely to be able to start a routine as soon as you get your newborn home, and you shouldn’t try. Your baby is still adjusting to being outside of the womb, and you should do your best to sleep when your baby is sleeping so you can catch up on much needed z’s.
Your initial routine will revolve around whatever the baby wants, which is usually food. Once they’re a little older, say four months, you can begin to work on a more rigid routine, with different cues at different times of the day.