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Set your family up for a lifetime of good sleep.
Sleep is so important for your baby's health and development. It's never too early to help your baby develop age appropriate health sleep habits that will benefit the entire family for years to come. This is not about sleep training, this is simply about creating a bedtime routine. It will seem like it is "not working" for the first few months and this is when many people will give up. If you stick with it, you will not regret it!
What is a Bedtime Routine?
Patterns are one of the first things your baby will recognize and they will start to associate this routine with bedtime and sleep. Remember, schedules are different than routines. You do not have to stick to a super strict schedule (they are babies, not robots!), but children love routines because they are predictable and comfortable. Most babies who have a bedtime routine will be sleeping fully through the night within the first 6 months of life, and will likely continue to sleep well throughout their childhood because they have established a good sleep foundation. It is much easier to establish this early than to try to change it later!
3 Things that Impact Baby Sleep
Better daytime sleep leads to better nighttime sleep because your baby won't be overtired. Keep naps during the day under 2 hours and make sure the last nap isn't too close to bedtime. Pay attention to sleep cues to determine if your baby needs 1, 2, or 3 naps to make it through the day smoothly.
Just like there is a bedtime routine, you will get into a feeding routine as well. Make sure their dinner feed is 2.5-3 hours before bedtime so that they are nice and hungry for their bedtime feed. Let's keep that belly full for as long as possible! You can also try a dream feed - some babies love it, some babies don't.
Make sure their sleep environment is safe, dark, cool (between 68-72 degrees), boring (no toys or stimulation) and their white noise sound machine is on! They can wear a swaddle, sleep suit, or sleep sack and some light clothing underneath. Here are few things that can help you set up the perfect sleep environment:
What is the Bedtime Routine?
Without further ado, here are the 6 key steps in the Bedtime Routine. Of course, feel free to adjust however you like! All families and babies are different, but this will help get you started.
1. Give them a warm, relaxing bath
2. Close the curtains and dim the lights for some sweet bonding time, which could include cuddling, reading a book, talking, or singing.
3. Give them a bedtime feeding to comfort them and top off their bellies.
4. Swaddle them or put in their sleep suit/sleep sack (depending on their age).
5. Turn on the white noise sound machine and turn the lights off.
6. Rock and lay down for bed.
I don't know about you, but I wish someone would do this bedtime routine with me before I went to bed!
Real Mom Review
"I don't always get it right, but starting a bedtime routine and prioritizing sleep for our family is one of the best things I've done as a mom. Even though we have 2 young toddlers close in age, our family has a very comfortable routine and we are all well rested...which I know isn't always the case! We feel very blessed"
According to John Hopkins Children's Hospital, "studies have shown that kids who regularly get an adequate amount of sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health."
Moms on Call
I can't end a post on baby sleep without giving credit to Moms on Call. They are 2 nurses with amazing family values and several children between them. They wrote the simplest no-nonsense guide to babies that I lived by! They are truly the reason that my children are amazing sleepers. Can't recommend their book enough!
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