If asked for only one tip on how to get a baby or toddler sleeping well, it would probably be to get a good calming bedtime routine established. A perfect bedtime routine has 5 elements:
Begin your bedtime routine at the same time each day. All babies and toddlers should be in bed between 6 and 7pm. Begin your bedtime routine with a bath an hour before you want your little one down. Make sure your baby or toddler has an age-appropriate awake time between their afternoon sleep and bedtime.
Each day, stick to a predictable order between supper and lights out: an example of a healthy bedtime routine is:
- 5pm Supper – No TV between supper and bath – rather play with your baby or toddler
- 6pm Bath – calming with soothing smells
- 6:30pm Massage and dress your little one but keep them in their room after their bath
- 6:45pm Last feed of the day
- 7pm Into bed
Keep the time between bath and bed calming:
- Soothing smells of lavender and chamomile
- Lulling sounds of white noise or lullabies
- Relaxing movement – rock your baby a little in your arms
- Dim the lights and remove mobiles from over the cot
- Soothing massage
- Warm milk and sucking on a breast or bottle or dummy / pacifier are also soothing
A bedtime routine becomes a trigger for all the wonderful brain hormones that will settle your little one. By keeping the routine consistent, your baby will anticipate bed and not fight sleep.
A HEALTHY SLEEP ASSOCIATION
As you prepare for putting your little one into bed, ensure they have their ‘sleepy blanky’ – something they can hold and love as they drift off to sleepyland.