Sleep is at the top of a lot of people’s wish list this season. Here are our top tips for helping your entire family sleep better.
Create a Relaxing Nap & Bedtime Routine
It is important to have a relaxing routine before sleep because it sends cues to your baby’s brain (or your own) that sleep is coming next. A 30 minutes bedtime routine is a great length to wind down and prepare your baby for sleep. A naptime routine should be a shorter version of your bedtime routine, and might only be 10 minutes. You can sing a song, read a book or simply put on his sleep sack.
Offer an Age Appropriate Bedtime
Babies need more sleep than most of us realize. The idea that if you put your baby to bed later in the night means that he will sleep later in the morning is wrong. Sleep begets sleep; so don’t be afraid to put him down early. Early bedtimes can help decrease night waking’s and lead to a later wake time.
From 4 months on, babies often have two longer naps and one catnap. We often see babies dropping the catnap between 6 and 9 months. Most babies will then drop to one nap around 15 months. When a baby is working on new skills, we might see him skip a nap to practice – but he isn’t necessarily finished with the nap. Continue to offer it for a week or two before making any changes.
Get Rid of Negative Sleep Associations
It will be easier for your baby to transition through sleep cycles and fall back to sleep if he wakes in the night if he falls asleep on his own at the start of the nap or night. If he is falling asleep while nursing or drinking a bottle, then he will need that to fall back asleep. If you feed him at the start of his routine and put him into his crib awake, then he will fall asleep on his own and have a better chance of falling asleep again if he wakes.
Consistency is Key
We say this to our clients A LOT! “Be consistent”…. Be consistent in wake time, naptime and bedtime. Be consistent with how you allow your baby to fall asleep and be consistent in how you treat night waking’s.
Good luck and sweet dreams.
Jamie Contarini is a certified sleep consultant with Good Night Sleep Site Halton. Proud Mama of two boys. Jamie realized that her interest in helping change some of her son’s sleep habits actually turned into a passion and she happily joined the Good Night team with her mission being to help families succeed as she did.
Join Jamie Sunday nights on Facebook for a free sleep clinic from 8-9pm.