Babies tend to have weird and varied sleep schedules that can puzzle most parents. This often means that they are awake when you want to sleep, preventing you from getting enough rest. The good news, though, is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
What many parents don’t realize is that they can help their little ones get to sleep at a particular time. This can be done with the help of a bedtime routine. Once babies have adapted to this, they find it a great deal easier to doze off.
Now, if you don’t already have a bedtime routine in place, you may be wondering how to manage this. Well, you can find all the information you need to below:
Get Started as Soon as Possible
You may be wondering when you can set up a bedtime schedule for your baby. Well, you can get started a lot sooner than you might think. Consider incorporating a bedtime ritual when your baby is between three months or older. At this point, your little one’s circadian rhythm may be better developed.
As such, they can respond to various cues. So, if you start beginning the bedtime rituals now, your infant will recognize when it is time for them to start calming down and go to sleep. Not to mention, the earlier that you begin, the easier that it will be to incorporate this routine.
You can start when your baby is around 5 to 8 weeks old as well. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that it will work at this age, though.
Each Baby is Different
As mentioned, your baby’s circadian rhythm is still developing. Due to this, you will find there is a discrepancy between the exact time that different babies will naturally fall asleep. It isn’t a good idea to randomly select a bedtime for your child.
Instead, watch your baby for a few days. Take note of when he or she begins to become sleepy all on their own. If they keep to a similar time every day, then this is their natural bedtime. This should be the moment that you can put your baby down to sleep.
Timing the Bedtime Routine
Another point you may be pondering is how soon before bedtime you should start the routine. Well, this is entirely up to you. Some babies may succumb to the routine easily while other infants may take longer to settle in. Thus, you will need to watch how your little one responds and adjust the timeline accordingly.
In most cases, though, it is a good idea to get started about 20 minutes to an hour before as mentioned in this article. This ensures that your baby has plenty of time to calm down and become drowsy. Set an alarm so that you always start at the same time. This, too, can help your little one adapt to the routine more easily.
Of course, this time doesn’t have to be set in stone. As your baby grows older, their natural bedtime may change. Rather than trying to force them to go to bed at a particular time, alter the timing of the bedtime schedule instead.
What Should Your Bedtime Routine Include?
There isn’t a set rule of things that you should do before your baby’s bedtime. Most people will stick to things like bath time, snuggles, etc. However, it is up to you to decide what elements you should include.
At the end of the day, you know your baby better than anyone else. Thus, you will be better equipped to figure out which activities they find most calming. Some babies may like massages or being read to. You will need to tailor the routine according to your little one.
Just make sure to order them effectively and stick to these routines every time. Remember, your baby is supposed to unconsciously understand that these are cues for him or her to go to sleep. Thus, they have to be the same.
Your baby’s attitudes towards certain steps in the routine may change as they get older. For instance, in the beginning, they may find bath time soothing but later on, it may turn into playtime. Needless to say, this isn’t going to be very soothing for them. Thus, you will need to adapt accordingly.
Don’t Worry About the “Drowsy But Awake” Advice
Numerous sleep experts may ask you to put your baby to bed when they are drowsy but still awake. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. This is because there is too much contrast in the time before and after they have been placed to sleep.
Therefore, you should settle your baby in while they are still awake. However, don’t walk away at this point. Instead, place them in a bassinet beside your bed. This way, you can lie on your bed, showing your baby that you are close enough to be a comfort.
For this, you need the right bassinet. You can find the best options for you and your baby here. By opting for this method, you are equipping your baby with their own tools for self-soothing, allowing them to fall asleep by themselves.
Be Prepared for Resistance and Setbacks
Some babies don’t take kindly to a bedtime routine. Thus, they may not readily adapt to the tactics you are trying out. Don’t worry. Continue with the practice until they become more used to it and can fall asleep on their own .
Even if your baby does adopt the bedtime routine readily, there may be setbacks later on. This could be a sign that you need to change up the routine a little so that it is better suited to your little one’s current sleep behavior.
This is what you need to know about setting up a bedtime routine for your baby. Follow the advice here and you are sure to have them sleeping well without too much hassle.