Sleep Routine Tips
15:25 (GMT+2), Thu, 05 July 2012
No matter the nature of your child, there are certain cornerstones to achieving a flexible yet workable sleep routine.
1. Remember that babies are individuals, and rather than following a prescribed routine (many clinics and private practitioners hand these out), build one around your child’s own patterns.
2. Observe your baby carefully in the initial days and weeks of life, as this will give you a good idea about her sleep needs, feeding patterns and other biological functions, like when her tummy needs to work.
3. If your baby swaps night and day around, gently wake her a half hour earlier than you think she would of her own accord after each daytime sleep. This will soon make night sleeps longer and deeper.
4. Never wake a sleeping baby at night unless there are serious health problems or if weight gain is very poor. Babies have a ‘core sleep’, usually pre-midnight, during which time they sleep, well, like babies. Most sleep disturbances occur after that hour, but a full night’s sleep gradually ‘grows’ from this core sleep, and if the rhythm of this is broken, it will take longer to achieve unbroken nights.
5. Late afternoon and early evenings are notoriously difficult times in a household with a baby. It’s a good idea to keep busy with your baby at this hour, like going for walks, playing ‘touchy’ games, giving short feeds, or dancing with her in your arms. Minimise the household tasks for this hour, rather prepare the evening meal earlier in the day. Save deeper conversations with your partner for later in the evening or in the early morning hours while still snuggled in bed, when your baby usually has an ‘extra’ little sleep.
6. Stick to a wind-down routine at the end of the day. This should begin with more boisterous activity like physical games appropriate for her age, and gradually move on to quieter activities like bathing, massage, storytelling, rocking, a last feed, and then bedtime.
7. If Dad, Mom or both parents only return home in the middle of the wind-down phase, take care not to introduce more boisterous play again, as this can upset the applecart and affect the rest of the evening.
8. Know that babies and toddlers will always try to kick against the limits imposed upon them. This is the way little ones learn, and it doesn’t mean that your rules are wrong. If you’ve been wise and loving and have taken heed of your baby’s rhythms when making your routine rules, be quietly confident and baby will pick up on the benefits of your routine.
Routine: Birth to 6 monthssleep, routine, baby, sister lilian