What once worked for a newborn at bedtime, changes as our babies become older. Different factors need to be taken into consideration and ultimately bedtime can become a little more fun once your little one hits the 6 month mark. This is partly down to their ability to engage with you more but also because they can stay awake a little longer too. So now your baby is a little older, what should you be doing to optimise a calm and sleepy bedtime routine?
Here are my 5 ways to create an ideal bedtime routine for your little one!
1. Allow for calm time
The shift between day time fun and night time calm should be felt in the whole house. Shut curtains, turn on lights and start to move more slowly. The more overtired or active a baby, the more calm time they might need. Use this time to get everything ready for the bedtime routine – milk, pj’s and a towel for example.
2. Ensure tummies are happy
There is no right or wrong time to feed a baby their milk at bedtime! The key is for this time to be relaxing and enjoyable. It is often the first time mum’s have sat down in a while and it is a great time to reconnect with little ones. Babies who go to bed hungry will wake more frequently in the night and they will find it hard to go to sleep too. I love Kendamil’s unique full cream recipe for happy tummies, especially when you combine this cosy feed with a Love To Dream sleep suit! Not only is Kendamil the most natural follow-on milk on the market but it is also the kindest to the digestive system, making for a happy tummy all night!
3. Check your little one’s sleep environment
Ensuring your baby has a sleep environment conducive to good sleep is an important process. We want to ensure the room is calm and at the right temperature. Love To Dream Sleep Suits come in two thicknesses and they come with lighter cotton top halves to help regulate body temperature. Babies over the age of 6 months old might benefit from pink noise, which has been shown to help little ones go into a deeper sleep over night. A consistent noise will also help ensure outside noise doesn’t wake your baby either!
An early bedtime will be far more conducive to a good night’s sleep. The more overtired a little one, the harder bedtime can be. Ensure you are keeping your bedtime nice and early to help your baby fall and stay asleep for longer. A good time for sleep is usually around 6.30pm. If you notice extra alertness or hyperactivity around bedtime or your baby falls asleep very quickly, between 2-5 minutes, it may be that bedtime is too late.
We talk a lot about routine, especially when it comes to our little ones. The reality is that children of all ages love routine. It keeps them feeling safe and reassured and acts as a huge sleep signal to your baby. So when you do your routine in the same order each night, your little one will know that the outcome of this process is that they go to sleep!
Every baby is unique and you always want to look at what will work best for them individually. Implementing these calming, sleep inducing strategies will help you create a great bedtime routine!
Cara is an infant sleep coach and founder of The Sleep Method. Her approach is gentle and totally bespoke to each little one she works with. Based in Hampshire, Cara works virtually with families all over the UK and beyond.