My 5 Step Bedtime Routine 

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baby-1566615A fundamental rule to achieving good sleeping habits is routine. The consistent, soothing motions you go through, make your baby feel calm and secure, they will become clear cues for your baby to switch into sleep mode.

In my blog this week I am going to set out a good basic bedtime routine that I recommend to all of my clients. They are basic principles for healthy sleep and developing healthy associations with sleep. Follow these with consistency and soon you will see positive changes in your baby’s/child’s sleeping habits.

Important: Learn to read and understand your baby’s sleep cues. This will help you to know the optimum time to begin your routine.

The bedtime routine should be no more than 30-45 minutes long.

Prepare you baby’s/child’s room. Check temperature, between 16-20 degrees. Dim lighting and no stimulants.

1) Bath time.

  • Ensure the water is warm. Heat helps with the release of melatonin which is the sleep hormone.
  • No more than 10 minutes in length as after this the water will begin to get cold.
  • Bath time is a great time to bond and interact with your child, do so but in a calm way. Too much stimulation will release cortisol, the awake hormone.

2) Ready for bed

  • Massage (personal preference)
  • PJ’s on

3) Story

  • Keep it short, not over stimulating, no noises/pop ups etc.

4) Feed

  • Turn out the light I recommend only a very dim night light at this point.
  • Calmly saying trigger words such as ‘shhhh, time for sleep’
  • It’s important that you don’t allow your baby to fall asleep in your arms.

5) Bed

  • Lay your baby down in the cot, again saying trigger words ‘night night’

If your tone is calm and soothing, the steps are predictable and the end of the routine is clear, your baby will recognise that its sleep time and their body will expect the transition to sleep. The key principle is doing the same every night.

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