Baby Bedtime Routine
Importance of a baby bedtime routine
Humans find security in knowing what to expect so a bedtime routine can actually shape your baby's behaviour, helping them to become drowsy through the power of suggestion. A routine is such a strong tool that depending on a baby's disposition, simply beginning the routine can affect yawns or screams of protest.
Developing a baby bedtime routine that works for you
A baby bedtime routine should be no more than 30-60 minutes long. At that time you should create a calm environment. Stop playing and use a hushed tone of voice. Give your baby a warm bath and put on pajamas. Help your baby associate going to sleep with certain events, such as dimming the lights or closing the curtains, playing a lullaby or turning on a white noise machine. Help your baby to settle by cuddling, nursing or reading books. Be sure whatever you select as your baby's bedtime routine is simple and something you will be able to do with consistency as your child matures.
Last step in your baby bedtime routine - transitioning from you to crib
Warming the sheets with a warm water bottle, heating pad, or a warmer packet where his head will go can ease the transition from you to crib. Just be sure to remove them before you put your baby down. If your baby is asleep when you put him down be sure he is fully asleep. His breathing will be very relaxed, he'll have limp limbs and feel very heavy. Very gently place him in the crib, being careful to keep him close to your body the whole way down so he doesn't feel suspended. Once you put him down continue to lean over him, still touching him for a minute or two. An Ookie or lovey infused with your scent and warm sheets can make the difference between success and failure.
If he does protest, try letting him fuss before picking him back up. Some babies seem to need a few moments of obligatory fussing in order to fall asleep. If he escalates try rubbing him gently and shushing softly to see if he settles. If he still continues to escalate you can pick him up and try to re-settle him, then attempt the whole thing again once he is ready.
What About Sleep Training?
Because your baby may be a poor sleeper, you may be encouraged by friends, family members, or parenting books to try “sleep training”. It’s important to remember that your baby is ill and in pain. Sleep training methods that encourage you to ignore your baby’s cries are especially inappropriate for babies with reflux and colic. Babies who cry without response from a parent are not learning trust and security.
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