Katie Hilton fills us in on bedtime routines
Questions most often asked by parents are around the introduction of a bedtime routine for a baby. At MAM we want to support you on your parenting journey so we’ve asked our Expert Midwife & Health Visitor Katie Hilton to fill us in on bedtime routines.
By the time your baby is around three months of age you start to think about introducing a bedtime routine. This should be a simple and consistent routine you can easily keep to each night to help your baby develop healthy sleep habits, and start to understand the difference between night and day.
You should aim to introduce a regular bedtime each night, roughly between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. Leave it any later than this and your baby will be overtired making it more difficult to settle them off to sleep. Your bedtime routine should be relatively short taking no longer than 30 minutes in total.
A familiar bedtime routine will start to regulate your baby’s body clock and establish a good sleeping pattern. This is good news for parents also as it means your baby will start to sleep through the night allowing you extra hours of rest.
Your baby is also likely to be more relaxed if they know what to expect next and the more relaxed your baby, the more likely they are to go to bed easily and fall asleep quickly.
Your bedtime routine could include any of the following: –
- Playing a gentle, quiet game
- Giving your baby a bath
- Baby Massage
- Putting on pyjamas
- Reading a bedtime story
- Singing lullabies
- Cuddle time
- Kissing goodnight
It’s your choice what you choose to include, just be sure to choose a routine that you know will calm and relax your baby. Your bedtime routine should generally take place in either the bathroom or the room in which your baby sleeps. This will help your baby to make the link between the bedtime routine and falling asleep.
Set the tone for bedtime by turning off the television and winding down to quieter activities roughly half an hour before bedtime. If you have children who are older, encourage them to play a quiet game with your baby and to also play quietly themselves.
Going to bed should be pleasing with plenty of time for attention and cuddles; your baby will soon learn to love their bedtime routine. If your baby gets upset when you leave the room, tell them you’ll be back to check in a few minutes.
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