Establishing a Bedtime Routine for Your Baby
Once you welcome your little one into the world, sleep deprivation can seem like it’s a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be.
Getting your baby into a routine is essential, especially at bedtime. A routine creates stability and can help you to feel more in control at a time of your life when you can feel anything but.
The importance of a bedtime routine
Babies and toddlers who have a bedtime routine are always happier and well-rested, and this means that you will be too!
Follow these tips for establishing a bedtime routine for your baby that will ensure they rest all night long.
1. Give them a relaxing bath
This is a great tool for helping your little ones to wind down at the end of the day. Be sure to use soothing products and scents in the bath, and before you know it, they’ll start to associate a relaxing bath with bedtime.
2. Use gentle skincare products before bed
A baby’s skin can be 3-5 times thinner than adult skin so when you’re choosing skincare products, check the label for nourishing and gentle ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, and sweet almond oil.
3. Try a massage
Research studies have shown that massaging your baby before bedtime can reduce crying and help them get a restful sleep. It’s also good for their tummies, as it relieves constipation and colic, and it can even boost immunity.
4. Create a calming bedroom environment
Creating a calming environment promotes restful sleep because it encourages the production of the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy.
Use calming scents like chamomile and lavender to relax your baby, and eventually they will associate these with bedtime each night.
Switch off the TV and any other electronic devices to help their brains switch off before bed, have a relaxing low light in their bedroom, and try playing calming sounds like the sound of waves or something similar, to relax them.
5. Tell them a story
Reading a story to your baby or toddler is one of the most well-known parts of a bedtime routine. It helps them to learn words, develops their imagination, and helps them to learn about the world around them. When your baby is around 4 months old, introduce bedtime stories. Start with simple books with a few words and pop ups or flaps to lift, then as their eyesight and general awareness develops, show them some picture books to let them use their imagination and develop an interest in the story.
Once they have been bathed, and they are in their pyjamas, get comfortable, and read the story in a calm, soft voice to help them relax.
When you have finished the story, say goodnight to the characters, and read them the same book for a few nights so they get to know the story. When they are a bit older, let them choose a book they want to read at bedtime.
A good bedtime routine is all about repetition, and if they have a bath, a milky drink, and a bedtime story at night, they will associate this with winding down and going to sleep, and it will make them feel secure.
Even the crankiest baby or toddler will look forward to story time and cuddles before bed, and it’s the perfect opportunity for dads to get involved, especially if they have not had the chance to spend much time with the little ones.
The most important thing about story time is to do what works for you. Whether an older child reads to the younger ones while you put them to bed, or you read in bed together as a family, it doesn’t matter. It’s a great way of bonding and getting your child interested in reading, which is something they might carry on with throughout their life.