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Parenting is a whole new experience than anything you’ve ever experienced before. Every day marks a new development in your baby and with each developmental milestone arise further questions about the overall growth of the child.
If your baby is three months old, then you may as well start thinking about establishing a bedtime routine that is essential for instilling healthy sleeping habits in your baby during the growing years. A healthy bedtime routine coupled with a set pattern every night helps the baby to fall into a regular sleeping habit that plays a huge role in the overall development of the child. A set bedtime routine also gives the parents plenty of relaxation time to bond with the little one. This article will guide you on how exactly to go about fixing a sound and calming bedtime routine for your little one.
When to Start a Bedtime Routine for Your Baby
There is no need to rush into a bedtime routine. A newborn sleeps most of the time anyway and does not need a routine to fall asleep. When your baby turns three months old, she is ready for a bedtime routine. By introducing a simple and consistent routine, you will help your baby develop a healthy sleeping habit. The aim should be to introduce a regular sleeping time between 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Start with a short routine and then extend the time frame later.
Benefits of Bedtime Routine for a Baby
All of us are relaxed and happy if things go as planned in our day to day lives. The same is true for your baby too! A fixed bedtime routine sets the right mood at the right time for the baby, and she feels relaxed and has a sound sleep. A bedtime routine when followed while travelling helps the baby to adjust more easily to her new surroundings. A set bedtime routine is also beneficial for the parents. It helps the parents to set aside time to spend with the little one.
Building a Good Bedtime Routine
If you are ready to set a bedtime routine for your baby, then the first thing you need to do is start early in the evening. In the case of small babies, start with washing up the baby, then change the diapers and change the baby into jammies. Once the cleaning up is done, you can finally rock the baby in your arms, or a rocking chair with a song or a story and your baby is ready to go off to sleep. Also, remember to go through this routine in your baby’s room or the room your baby sleeps in and not anywhere else in the house. It’s essential that your baby begins to recognise the bedroom for rest.
Ideas for a Perfect Bedtime Routine
Here are a few tips that could be helpful in setting up a good and healthy bedtime routine for your little one.
- Wind up early: It’s essential that about 30 minutes before the planned bedtime, you wrap up your usual household work and move towards calmer and quieter activities. This will act as a signal to your baby that bedtime is approaching.
- Set a time for bedtime routine: Your baby’s age and temperament should help you to set up an approximate wind-down time before she is ready to hit the bed. For example, infants will take about 5 minutes to get ready for bed. Whereas toddlers will need more wind-down time and hence their bedtime routine will be for a longer time than infants.
- Maintain the time: It will be a great help to your baby if you can start the bedtime routine at about the same time every day. This will help your baby now and in the long run to sleep on time.
- Give a bath before bed: Getting soaked in warm water before bed is a great way for babies to relax. Hence, it is a good idea to give your baby a lukewarm bath before bedtime, ensuring that she is relaxed, clean, dry and comfortable before she falls off to sleep.
But in case your baby gets excited after a bath and gets into a play mode, which has been observed in some cases, then avoid bath before bedtime.
- Getting ready for bed routine: Pre-bedtime activities include washing your baby’s face, wiping the baby clean, getting and her into nightclothes. Introduce each of these activities in your baby’s at the earliest so that these healthy habits become a part of her bedtime routine for life.
- Dress your baby appropriately: Overdressing a baby for sleep can result in disturbed sleep and night sweating in toddlers. Dress your little one up in comfortable nightwear.
- Introduce bedtime stories: Sleeping time is a great time to start reading stories to your baby. This will also help your baby to inculcate the habit of reading in the long run.
- Introduce an attachment object: Children love to fall asleep with something on their side. It could be their favourite toy, a pillow or something else. This attachment object could go a long way in making your baby feel comfortable and calm at bedtime.
- Keep the ending consistent: Give the bedtime routine a definite end. For example, read a story, sing a song or put a night light on and then leave the room. If you follow the same routine with a definite end every night, your child will set herself up to fall asleep after your last act. Your child will realize after your last act that it’s time to calm down and fall asleep.
Are There Any Drawbacks of Baby Sleep Routine?
Like any other routine, your baby’s bedtime routine too needs to be flexible. As your baby grows older, she will have mood swings and times when she will resist the usual bedtime routine. She may not want to change before going to bed, and if she is older, she may refuse to brush her teeth. This is inevitable and needs to be accepted by all parents. You must also be prepared to make necessary changes in the bedtime routine as per your growing child’s requirement. Listen to what your child says and be prepared to make changes in the routine if necessary. The change can be as simple as a change in the sequence of bedtime routine activities or even ditching one of the set steps of the routine. Judge the situation and make your decision based on the situation. Don’t compromise your child’s comfort to fit into a rigid routine.
A fixed bedtime routine brings down the level of stress in both the mother and child. Setting a healthy bedtime routine for your baby will go a long way. Just stay flexible and change the routine as per your child’s comfort level.