Can A Bedtime Routine Help Your Baby Sleep
Yes. Your babys sleep schedule changes over time, but sticking to a routine can make bedtime easier for the both of you. Start setting a bedtime routine when your babys around 4 to 6 months old.
Heres how to get your baby ready for bedtime:
- Wind down any playtime fun.
- Turn off the phone, television, etc.
- Give your baby a warm bath.
- Softly stroke your babys back.
- Give your baby a pacifier.
- Sing to your baby or play soft music.
- Read your baby a bedtime story.
Stick to your babys sleep routine as much as you can. Plan ahead if your babys routine may need a temporary change, like if youre going out of town travel or attending family parties. Change his bed time the best you can but try to get back to his schedule and routine as soon as possible.
How To Set Up A Bedtime Routine
The idea behind a bedtime routine is to settle and relax your baby before putting her down in her crib for sleep, including for naps.Because babies tend to love routine, having a simple ritual that you always follow helps your baby anticipate and learn that the time for sleep is coming, and helps her wind down.A bedtime routine can include a bath, a song or story, or a baby massage. Avoid any stimulating activities in the period just before sleep.Make sure your baby is still awake when you place him in his crib. This helps create a positive sleep association with the crib.
Tips For Moving Baby To His Own Room
First, its important to set up babys room for safe sleep. That means having a crib with a firm mattress and a fitted sheet, and keeping it completely clear of bumpers, toys and blankets. Becky Roosevelt, founder of Snug as a Bug Pediatric Sleep Consulting, also recommends having blackout window shades and a white noise machine.
Once everything is in place, start transitioning baby to the crib by having him take naps in the nursery to get him comfortable with sleeping in the new space, Woods says. Once he gets the hang of that, have baby sleep in his own room overnight. To help keep an eye on your little one, Woods recommends having a good video baby monitor that allows you to see and hear your child from any point in the house.
Having a sleep routine and sticking to it is essential for a smooth transition, Roosevelt says. She recommends going into the room for a diaper change, dimming the lights and reading a story, then turning the lights off and singing a lullaby while rocking baby to the point of drowsiness. Finally, put baby into the crib slowly and with a smile, and leave the room. These cues are key to helping baby know that sleep is coming next and that it will be taking place in this cozy room, she explains.
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Leave Baby Alone In The Crib Or Bassinet
Baby should sleep alone on her back without bumpers, stuffed animals, blankets or pillows.
Its okay to start using a pillow and blanket when your child is a toddler and old enough to move out of a crib and into a toddler bed ideally between 2 and 3 years old.
If youre worried about baby being too cold at night, then consider a wearable blanket .
As for crib bumpers? Not only should you avoid bumpers because they’re not safe, but they’ve recently been banned by the federal government as part of the Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2021.
Bumpers can increase the risk for suffocation and strangulation in younger babies and be used as steps to climb out of the crib in older babies and toddlers. And there’s no solid evidence that they actually prevent injuries in the crib, either.
How Long Do Newborns Sleep At Night
You might be researching newborn sleep patterns and begin to see things about making bedtime earlier. But, dont do this too early! Thats because newborns will often sleep a maximum of 8-10 hours at night beginning around 6 weeks old, on average. After these 8-10 hours, they might stay awake for playtime for 1-2 hours at a time and you dont want that to be 3:00 or 4:00 a.m.! Your newborn might stay awake from 3:30 to 5:00 a.m. and then take a 2-hour nap, for example. So, keep bedtime later until your baby extends their nighttime sleep to 11-12 hours which occurs around 3 months old.
Even though your newborn might sleep 8-10 hours at night, its important not to let them sleep through feedings until their doctor approves. This is usually after your baby has doubled their weight, established a good weight gain, and is growing appropriately. Every baby is different so be sure to get specific instructions from your doctor.
The newborn days are often the most exhausting for parents because you might be only sleeping in 1 1/2 to 2-hour chunks yourself but take heart its a relatively short period of time in your babys life! It only feels like years.
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Room Sharing With Baby
Room sharing reduces the risk of sudden infant death and sleeping accidents during day-time and night-time sleeps. The safest place to sleep a baby is in their own safe sleeping place in the same room as an adult care-giver.
To Reduce the Risks of Sudden Unexpected Deaths in Infancy , including SIDS and Fatal Sleep Accidents, parents should:
1. Always place baby on their back to sleep, never on the tummy or side
2. Keep babys face andhead uncovered
3. Keep baby smoke free before birth and after
4. Safe sleeping environment night and day
5. Sleep baby in their own cot in the same room as an adult care-giver for the first six to twelve months
The term Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy is now used as this term refers to all cases of sudden and unexpected death in infancy and includes deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and fatal sleeping accidents. Safe sleeping recommendations target known risk factors associated with SUDI. Where studies specifically define the population as SIDS, this specific term will be used to describe the study findings.
Room-sharing with a baby has been shown to reduce the risk of SUDI.1-9 Red Nose therefore recommends sleeping with a baby in a cot next to the parents bed for the first six to twelve months of life. See Figure 1.
Establishing A Baby Bedtime Routine
You may feel ready to introduce a bedtime routine when your baby is around 3 months old. Getting them into a simple, soothing bedtime routine can be a great opportunity to have 1-to-1 time with your baby.
The routine could consist of:
- having a bath
- changing into night clothes and a fresh nappy
- putting them to bed
- reading a bedtime story
- dimming the lights in the room to create a calm atmosphere
- giving a goodnight kiss and cuddle
- singing a lullaby or having a wind-up musical mobile you can turn on when you’ve put your baby to bed
- brushing their teeth
As your child gets older, it can be helpful to keep to a similar bedtime routine. Too much excitement and stimulation just before bedtime can wake your child up again. Spend some time winding down and doing some calmer activities, like reading.
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So What The Heck Are You Supposed To Do
My children were born prior to this very strong recommendation. Room sharing had a soft recommendation. We found that my wife and I slept better in with the children in separate rooms. The children slept better as well.
Some parents sleep better knowing their children are in the same room as them. Some children may sleep better as well. Thats fine. Other families dont have an extra room for their children. Thats fine as well.
If you have an infant less than six months of age, I think it is appropriate to follow the room sharing recommendation IF you are able to adhere to safe sleep practices.
Some parents, however, are really struggling because their babies are sleeping poorly, and so are they. Im worried about the mental state of frazzled parents who feel that they have to literally sacrifice their sleep to keep their children alive by constant vigilance, without a clear biological mechanism explaining why this may be beneficial.
I believe that having your infant sleep on her back, avoiding soft materials in the crib, and continuing to breastfeed are MUCH more important for safe sleep, especially as they have clear mechanisms to explain why they keep babies safe.
The peak of SIDS risk is between 1-4 months, and the risk is low after six months of age. The 2022 guidelines were updated to suggest that the primary safety benefits of room sharing end after six months of age, in line with the recommendations in Canada, the UK, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
Your Baby’s Sleeping Position
Always put your baby to sleep on their back with their feet touching the end of the cot.
If your baby always lies with their head in the same position they might develop a flat head. This is called plagiocephaly.
You can help prevent this when putting your baby down to sleep on their back. When they are lying flat, you can alternate their head position so that sometimes they face left and sometimes they face right.
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When To Set Up A Sleep Routine
Itâs never too early to think about adding structure around your babyâs sleep, but keep in mind that it may be several months before your baby has a predictable sleep pattern.Newborns donât yet know the difference between day and night and their circadian rhythms are still developing. And because their stomachs are so small, newborns can only go for a few hours before they need to be fed again, even during the night.At this early stage, itâs more important to cater to your babyâs feeding and sleep needs , rather than pushing a strict sleep schedule onto your little one. Look out for your babyâs drowsy periods and encourage sleep then.If you want, you can start keeping track of when your baby sleeps and feeds, and begin to put together a bedtime routine that you could follow consistently. Later on, when you may wish to start sleep training, having some basic sleep routines already in place may make things easier.
No Pillows Or Sleep Positioners
Do not use sleep positioners and other similar products. These include ‘nests’, ‘cocoons’, ‘pods’ or ‘wedges’. They do not prevent cot death or flathead and are a suffocation risk. This could lead to death.
These products may block your babys breathing. This can happen if their face is too close to the positioner or if they roll over onto their side or tummy. Extra items in a babys sleep space also increases them re-breathing in air they have exhaled.
Pillows and cushions should not be in the cot as they could suffocate your baby. Do not use them to elevate your baby’s head during sleep. This does not reduce reflux and is not recommended.
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Dont Rely On Smart Baby Monitors
Cardiorespiratory monitors, which alert you to changes in your babys breathing at night, havent been proven to protect against SIDS. Nor are they regulated by the Food and Drug Administration because they’re not considered medical devices, so they’re often not safe to have around your baby at all.
Coping With Disturbed Nights
Newborn babies invariably wake up repeatedly in the night for the first few months, and disturbed nights can be very hard to cope with.
If you have a partner, ask them to help. If you’re formula feeding, encourage your partner to share the feeds. If you’re breastfeeding, ask your partner to take over the early morning changing and dressing so you can go back to sleep.
Once you’re into a good breastfeeding routine, your partner could occasionally give a bottle of expressed breast milk during the night. If you’re on your own, you could ask a friend or relative to stay for a few days so you can get some sleep.
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When Should A Baby Sleep In Their Own Room
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants should sleep in the parents room, close to the parents bed, but on a separate surface . The infants crib, portable crib, play yard or bassinet should be placed in the parents bedroom for at least 6 months, but preferably a year. However, more important for safety than which room a baby sleeps in is the surface they sleep on. The AAP also recommends first that babies be placed on their back on a firm, flat surface for every sleep, so if you provide a safe crib or bassinet, the room it is placed in is secondary.
Many expert pediatricians and researchers question the AAP recommendation, especially for the benefits past the age of 6 months. One study published in Pediatrics in 2017 provides helpful data: Babies get less sleep at night and sleep for shorter stretches when they sleep in their parents room after 4 months old, it found. Furthermore, infants who slept in their own rooms after 4 months slept for longer, in general. Nine-month-old room-sharing infants slept an average 9.75 hours per night, compared to 10.5 hours for those who began sleeping alone by 4 months, and 10 hours for those who began sleeping alone between 4 and 9 months.
Transitioning To Babys Own Room
When you ask how long a baby sleeps in your room and answer the time has come to transition into their own space you should make sure every aspect of the nursery is ready for baby. Firstly, if your baby is not managing to sleep through the night and still wakes every three to four hours it is probably not the right time to transition into their own room. However, by the time a baby reaches one year in age they should probably be sleeping through the night and should be checked by a pediatrician to make sure there are no problems.
How do you prepare your babys room for transitioning to sleeping away from parents? The first step is to follow the latest advice about the style of bed and accessories to use. The AAP recommends you let your baby sleep in a crib with a firm mattress. The question many new parents ask is, what constitutes a firm mattress? The answer is a mattress which does not depress when it is pressed by the baby or parent.
There are many different guidelines for making sure your baby stays safe during those first few nights alone in their bedroom. Firstly, a crib bumper should never be used and no blankets or soft toys should be placed in the crib with your baby who should sleep on a firm mattress equipped with a fitted sheet.
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When Should A Baby Sleep In Their Own Room The Best Time To Make The Switch
Your baby grows so fast in the first year, and it is a constant series of adjustments as they outgrow what it seems just started to work. Sleep is one of the areas most frequently changing in the first year, and deciding when to put baby in a crib can be a tough one to figure out. When should a baby sleep in their own room? From official recommendations to your own gut instinct, well take you through how to make these choices.
Sitting And Carrying Devices
Cot death does not only happen in a cot. It may happen in a pram, bed, car seat, baby seat or anywhere a baby is sleeping.
Sleeping in a sitting position can make it difficult for your baby to breathe.
Never leave your baby unsupervised in a sitting device. This includes a car seat, baby seat, sling, carrier or similar products. These sitting and carrying devices are not recommended for routine sleep in the home.
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Sleeping On The Couch With A Newborn In Your Arms Is Really Dangerous
We get it, falling asleep on the sofa with an infant curled up on your chest is one of the best feelings in the world. Many an exhausted new mom has nodded off for a bit while her sleeping baby is sprawled across her lap or nestled up all warm and cozy on a breastfeeding pillow. But according to the American Academy of Pediatrics , this kind of co-sleepingon a couch or armchairis a serious newborn sleep mistake. Its way more dangerous than co-sleeping in a bed, due to the risk of dropping or smothering the baby. If youre going to nap or sleep with your infantdoctors say not to, but they know many parents do itopt for bed-sharing .
Where Should My Baby Sleep
For the first 6 months your baby should be in the same room as you when they’re asleep, both day and night. This can reduce the risk of SIDS .
Particularly in the early weeks, you may find your baby only falls asleep in your or your partner’s arms, or when you’re standing by the cot.
You can start getting your baby used to going to sleep without you comforting them by putting them down before they fall asleep or when they’ve just finished a feed. It may be easier to do this once your baby starts to stay alert more frequently or for longer.
If you use a baby sling to carry your baby, make sure you use it safely. The Lullaby Trust has information about swaddling your baby and using slings safely.
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