Getting your little one into a sleep routine can be really hard, yet there are some little tricks that can help you to achieve the holy grail of a full night’s sleep!
With my children I have always found that a set routine before bed is really important, even right at the beginning. We start with a warm, bubbly bath in a warm room. Following the bath it’s a massage with some baby massage oil. It is worth attending a few baby massage classes if you can, as you can learn some great massage techniques to help with relaxation and any specific problems, such as relieving colic.
Once your baby is in their pyjamas, it’s time for a feed. This is always done in a well lit room to prevent them falling asleep on the breast or bottle, as I believe it is important that babies learn to fall asleep on their own. This way, if they wake in the night, they may be able to settle themselves without needing a feed. While feeding, I find it a lovely time to softly sing or chat to your baby, the sound of your voice will naturally relax your baby, and it’s a great bonding experience too.
Once feeding is over, we pop on a Grobag. This keeps them warm and toasty all night, as they are not able to kick off their blankets. Just ensure that they are dressed appropriately, so if it is really warm, use a light sleeping bag and a bodysuit. If it is cold, you can use a thicker sleeping bag and a sleepsuit – or try a Grosuit for extra peace of mind. We use a nursery thermometer too – you get one with each Grobag, and they offer great advice on how many layers and which tog of sleeping bag to use.
Then it’s into a dimly lit room for a story. We have done this right from the beginning – reading to children is so important, and even right at the beginning babies enjoy listening to the soothing sound of your voice, and looking at pictures in books.
Finally, put your baby into their cot awake. This way they fall asleep on their own, and are more likely to be able to settle themselves again if they wake in the night. If your baby cries when you pop them down, place your hand on their tummy and say shhhh shhhh. Leave a soft nightlight on if it helps your baby settle. This can also be useful for night feeds. If you do feed in the night, keep the room dimly lit, and try not to interact with baby too much, keep it sleepy and soft so that baby learns to understand the difference between day and night.
This has always seemed to work for us, and all of our children have slept through the night from a fairly early age.