As humans, we tend to be creatures of habit. We like to sleep on the same side of the bed and have our coffee the same way each morning . Sometimes, we may make a conscious effort to shake our routine to avoid falling into a rut! Our routines are quite deeply ingrained - so much so that when there’s a big shift to our day to day rituals, we can feel a little unsettled. Have you ever noticed how it can be harder to fall asleep in a different bed or when our partners are away? It’s no coincidence. As humans, we thrive on familiarity, especially when it comes to sleep. And our babies are no exception!
During the day, you want to constantly be introducing new toys and activities to keep your baby’s brain active. As the sun starts to set, we are looking to have some routine around bedtime - consistency is key at bedtime. By putting your baby to bed the same way every day, you’re sending the message that it’s time for them to drift off to the land of nod. Here are some things to consider when it comes to creating a solid baby sleep routine.
Whether it’s putting your baby down for naps during the day or their night time sleep, timing is everything. Newborns don’t have the ability to tell night from day for a few weeks, so ensuring that you are outside while the sun is out and back indoors when it starts to get darker can be helpful in establishing their circadian rhythm. At The Sleep Dept, we prefer to base my newborn sleep timings off of awake times, rather than a strict timing schedule. The amount of naps and their duration depends on the age of your baby and will vary baby to baby.
Objects can be extremely useful in instilling a sense of comfort and familiarity into bedtime for your baby. When your baby gets a bit older (from about seven months onward, based on Red Nose guidelines) you can safely put them to bed with a small, breathable comforter/lovey. Just be mindful of avoiding anything that has attachments that could potentially be a choking hazard (button eyes etc)
When we do things the exact same way, every single day, it creates predictability. Establishing a bedtime routine just before you put your baby down in their cot will create a sense of calm understanding as your baby is familiar with the predictability of what’s coming. An example of a bedtime routine looks like this -
- In room to get dressed
Aiming for the bedtime routine to last about 20 - 30 minutes is ideal.
Just like us, babies sleep best when they’re not too hot, not too cold and in a quiet, dark room. By ensuring they have these conditions each and every night, you can put them on the path to being a champion sleeper. A great way to determine if your baby is too hot or cold is to feel the back of their neck!
Author: Erika Lamour
Infant Sleep Consultant