A mother breastfeeding her baby whilst the father sleeps beside them.
newborns

from chaos to calm: hints and tips on establishing a bedtime routine

1 minute

While every parents’ day-to-day life is different, there’s one thing we can almost guarantee is the same for all of you: by the end of the day, you’re exhausted.

This can make sticking to a bedtime routine difficult, meaning your baby might go to bed at a different time, and in a slightly different way most nights.

‘I couldn’t face reading up on what I was “supposed” to be doing at bedtime, so I just let Eddie fall asleep on me, then would ease him into his own cot before going to bed myself,’ says Laura. ‘But I definitely wouldn’t recommend it! I had no evening to myself, and Eddie got used to being “cuddled” to sleep, which was really difficult to stop.’

Bedtime routine tips

  • A bedtime routine is beneficial as it gives your baby ‘cues’ that sleep-time is coming, and helps them wind down and relax.

And it doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect - here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Start early, to allow enough time to do everything in a slow and a relaxed manner.

  • Have a nice warm bath or just a wash if you don’t want to bathe them every night.

  • As soon as your baby’s first tooth breaks through, start cleaning their teeth at night. Use a clean, damp washcloth, a gauze pad, or a finger brush to gently clean the teeth and the front of the tongue with low-fluoride toothpaste.

  • Keep lighting low, and try not to let them play with noisy toys so as not to overstimulate them.

  • Babies are never too young to start having a story read to them, and this is lovely bonding time as well as great for winding them down.

  • Be agile and respond to their changing sleep patterns – as children get older they might want a nightlight on, for instance.

Most of all, remember that what works for one baby won’t work for another, so what’s really important is to try different things, and see what suits you and your child.

And while advice from friends is useful, don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s – you will get there (and you will get your evenings back) even if it takes a little while.

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