To mark Sleep Month this March, Rosey Davidson, sleep consultant, speaker, author of The Just Chill Baby Sleep Book and founder of Just Chill Baby Sleep, shares her top tips for a successful baby sleep routine.
One of the first things you might read or hear about when you have your baby is how important a routine is. However, getting to know your baby, understanding their cues and sleep needs can feel like a real challenge at first. That’s where a baby sleeping routine comes in.
Routine is important, but it needs to have some flexibility too, after all, babies are not robots. We want to think about age appropriate, flexible, and realistic routines for our babies. There really is no right or wrong way to approach baby sleep, but there are things that we can try.
Rosey Davidson’s Top Tips For a Successful Sleeping Routine for Your Baby
Expose Baby to Natural Light During the Day
Use a Sleep-Friendly Light During Night Feeds
Don’t be Afraid to Wake Baby For Their Feed
Don’t let them sleep through feeds during the day. You might have heard the old phrase ‘never wake a sleeping baby,’ but in many cases we might need to wake our babies to ensure they get all the feeds they need across the day.
Stick to an Easy Bedtime Routine
Start and End Your Day at The Same Time
Ensure Baby is Tired Enough
Create a Good Sleep Environment
Have a good sleep environment – think about blacking out the bedroom so that they find it easier to settle down at bedtime (if it’s still light!) and don’t wake up early in the mornings. It can also help with nap times for those babies with ‘fomo’, or who struggle to unwind.
Work on a Sustainable Way of Settling Your Baby to Sleep
Work on at Least One Nap at Home in Their Crib or Cot
This can help babies who are learning to settle themselves to do so consistently at night. It’s always okay to do naps on the go, but if you are working on doing things differently at nighttime, this can be useful to try during the day.
However hard things might feel at the time, know that it will get better. Babies go through so many stages, but with time, consistency, and patience they will sleep better. However, never be afraid to reach out for support when you need it.
Rosey Davidson, sleep consultant, speaker, author of The Just Chill Baby Sleep Book and founder of Just Chill Baby Sleep, an infant sleep consultancy. Rosey is a mum of three, and the sleep consultant of choice for many celebrity parents. She is passionate about making sleep information accessible to all parents and offers a range of resources including her award-winning online courses, 1-2-1 consultations and her new book.
Your baby’s sleeping routine in summer
The warm weather and longer days in summer can have a detrimental effect on your baby’s sleeping pattern and mess about with your baby’s sleeping routine.
Making sure your baby stays cool during the warmer nights can help secure a better night’s sleep.
How to help your baby sleep in Summer
1. Invest in blackout blinds
While the longer days mean more hours of fun to be had in the summer, it can also make it far more difficult to convince your baby it’s time for bed.
Investing in some quality blackout blinds will allow you to make you and your baby’s rooms dark and give the illusion of nighttime.
2. Keep blinds and curtains shut during the day
If you don’t fancy forking out on a whole new set of blackout blinds for a few short weeks of summer here in the UK, by just making sure all the curtains and blinds are drawn throughout the day can help prevent natural light coming in. This will also help keep the room cool and more comfortable.
3. Monitor the room temperature with a thermometer
The optimum room temperature for a comfortable night’s sleep for your baby is around 16 to 20 degrees centigrade. However, its best to check your baby’s body temperature to gauge whether to increase or decrease the room. And to know how many layers and blankets to use.
4. Create a cool breeze
On particularly warm summer nights, try to create a cool breeze to help make sleeping more comfortable. If it’s not too noisy outside, open several windows, in or near the bedroom to allow air to flow the room.
5. Place ice in your baby’s room
If the open windows alone aren’t cutting it, bring out the big guns with a fan and a bowl of ice. Place the ice near the fans so cooler air filters through the room.
6. Run a cool bath before bedtime.
A cooler bath will help your baby feel more comfortable and therefore more likely to settle.
However, there’s a bit of debate over which temperature of your baby’s bedtime bath is best for helping them sleep better in summer in the long run. According to some parents speaking on blogs and forums, a warmer bath than usual actually allows your baby to cool down quicker and therefore maintain a cooler temperature throughout the night.
It’s all about working out what’s best for your baby – but try and monitor how comfortable they’re feeling as you put them down for bed.
Using a cool, wet towel or flannel to mop baby’s arms, legs and face can also help soothe them when they’re trying to drift off.
How to Help Your Baby Sleep When the Clocks go Back
You may think you’ve mastered your baby’s sleeping pattern and then BAM! the clocks change and your little one’s routine could be about to fly out the window. Here’s how to prepare for the upcoming clock change on 27th October.
- On the Saturday night before the change, make sure the clocks are left alone. Stick to your usual morning routine and get up at the same time. Only change the clocks after breakfast. This will lessen the impact of the change.
- Stick to your baby’s normal nap schedule but adjust it by 30 minutes for the first three days. Half an hour won’t make too much difference and allows your baby to adjust to the new time slowly rather than all at once. An hour is a lot for young children.
- Begin your bedtime routine 30 minutes earlier, so your child goes to sleep 30 minutes before they usually would. Your child may take slightly longer to fall asleep but, over the course of a week, that will adjust.
Tips for Getting Baby to Sleep When the Clocks go Forward
Paediatric sleep expert, Lucy Wolfe has come up with some top tips to combat the clocks going forward and ensure your baby’s sleep routine is time-proof.
1. Do your best to prepare your child for this transition by ensuring that they are well rested in the run-up to DST (daylight saving time). Pay specific attention to day time sleep and fill this need as much as possible.
2. Make sure that you have blackout blinds and a healthy sleep-friendly environment to help with going to sleep and to avoid unnecessary early rising.
3. Consider moving your child’s schedule ahead by 15 minutes every day from Wednesday before the time change. Adjust meals and naps times and of course their morning wake-time accordingly so that by Sunday you’ll be in sync with the new time on the clock.
4. If you prefer: do nothing until the day of the change, waking your child by 7.30am “new time” that morning and then follow your daily routine, addressing meals, naps and bedtime as you always do but offering a level of flexibility – possibly splitting the difference between the old time and the new time. This means that your child is potentially going to bed 30 minutes to one hour earlier than normal; they may struggle as their inner-clock may resist this, but within 3-7 days their system will adjust and your regular timetable will run just fine.
5. Bear in mind that we do not really want the time change to achieve anything, except that by the end of the week we are on the same time schedule that we have always been on prior to the change. Allowing the new time to make bedtime later or creating a later wake time rarely has a positive result, often resulting in nighttime activity and decreased nap durations by day.
6. Remember to wake by 7.30am “new time” each day so that the internal body clock is not disrupting your nap and bedtime rhythm.
7. Treat any disruptions with consistency so that you don’t create any long term sleep difficulties during this transition.
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