If you are struggling with a lack of sleep since your baby was born, you are far from being alone. It is something that every new parent experiences, but don't worry, it does pass eventually and you will get a good night’s sleep at some point again!
Newborn babies sleep a lot, but in short stretches. They wake regularly to feed, and in the first few weeks, this is especially important to help with their growth. However, maintaining a consistent sleep routine will help your baby as they get older and begin to go longer in between feedings.
Do not put too much pressure on yourself to establish a sleep routine as soon as you return home from the hospital with your newborn. After all, they, like you, must recover from the physical and emotional strain of birth. In addition, babies do not have a strong enough awareness of day and night to establish any consistent patterns of behavior.
However, initiating a sleep routine with your child when he or she is between 6 and 8 weeks old is a good idea. Initially, it should be quite brief, perhaps consisting of the good old bath, breast or bottle and bed pattern.
Bedtime routines assist babies to learn the difference between day and night by reinforcing their natural circadian rhythms and teaching them the distinction between day and night. Later on, establishing a nighttime ritual assists children in slowing down and psychologically preparing for bedtime.
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Here, we look at how you can help your baby - and you - by developing a peaceful bedtime routine.
1. Have baby sleep in with you
It is recommended that your baby sleeps in the same room as you in their cot, crib, or bassinet until at least six months and if possible, up to a year. This is thought to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as your breathing can help to regulate theirs. Not only that, but it means that when they do wake, it is much easier for you as well!
2. Set a time - and stick to it
Everyone has an internal clock, also known as a circadian rhythm, that assists them in maintaining a regular sleep schedule. A baby’s circadian rhythm can kick in around three months of age, but they need your help to develop and maintain a normal sleep/wake pattern. By putting them to bed at the same time every night, your baby will get tired at the same time every night.
3. Run a relaxing warm bath
Taking a bath is one of the most relaxing activities you can do, and this is especially true for young children. When a baby gets out of a warm bath, his or her body temperature begins to cool, which can aid in their ability to fall asleep more readily.
Water that is warm but not hot should be used, and the bath should only be filled with a couple of inches of water. If your infant is unable to sit up on his or her own, hold his or her head and back with one hand while cleaning him or her with our super cute and super soft panda bath mitt. Wrap them up in the personalised panda hooded bath towel, which will not only dry them but looks great too! The hood means that you do not have to have a separate towel and hand available to dry their hair too.
4. Give them a relaxing massage
If you have ever had a professional massage, you are probably aware of how calming the experience is. A gentle massage as part of their bedtime routine can have other benefits too. Massage provides really important skin contact between parent and child, and that closeness can help facilitate infant development. It also helps make falling asleep a little easier. Gentle strokes are used to lightly spread a baby-friendly massage oil over your child's body, avoiding the face and hands. This will help to soothe your child ready for restful sleep.
5. Read a book
Once your baby is all snuggled up in their pyjamas, sit and read a book together. Avoid anything that involves actions or too much excitement - the aim is to stay calm! Reading helps with their language development but is also a lovely calming and bonding moment - ideal for a restful sleep.
6. Have a last feed
A baby’s tummy is little, and so they need to feed little and often. Once they are ready for bed, settle down for a feed, whether that is a breastfeed or a bottle of milk. When they begin to get teeth, you need to incorporate teeth brushing into this part of the routine as well.
7. Put them down to sleep
Ideally, you want to be able to put them down drowsy but awake so that they learn to fall asleep by themselves. However, babies don’t read the books and many will only fall to sleep while being rocked, cuddled, or fed. If this is the case, don’t worry and do what works for you and them. They will fall asleep by themselves at some point!
You might like to take a look at some of our other blog posts Baby Formula Milk Calculator and 5 Beautiful & Easy Maternity Photoshoot Ideas and articles that we like Top Tips on bedtime routines for toddlers
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