Establishing a good sleep routine for babies can be a daunting task. There are a lot of long, sleepless nights. Sonny Bear’s tips for babies (and parents!) are all about helping our little ones see the good in every day, and making sure they’re as comfortable as possible before they drift off into a, hopefully, relaxing and peaceful sleep.
1. Establish a calming routine
A good bedtime routine will help smaller babies settle. Babies don’t produce the sleep hormone melatonin until they’re 3-4 months old. So having a structure that can help them get ready for bed will establish a good sleep routine. Taking them away from overly stimulating environments into the bathroom for a night time bath and then into their bedroom, and finally, the bed or cot helps ease them into sleep.
For toddlers who often want to assert their independence, having a routine – like a song, story or cuddle before bed will not only create some lovely one-on-one time but also prepare them for bed in an enjoyable, stress-free way (most of the time!)
2. Reduce separation anxiety
Leaving your child to go to sleep by themselves can cause separation anxiety. Often this can carry into later childhood. Creating a family wall with pictures of close family members, or showing family photos before bed can reduce this anxiety and this can help baby feel safe and relaxed going to sleep and waking up.
3. Play wind down games
Introducing a bedtime routine into play can help children understand the meanings behind common phrases we use for bedtime. Perhaps try to introduce a bedtime game with their favourite toys. This can help children express how they are feeling and prepare them for sleeping at the end of the day.
4. The four rule checklist
If your baby is struggling to sleep there’s the four rule checklist – do they need to be changed? Are they teething? Are they hungry? Do they need to be winded?
These are the basic needs that may need to be met. But if they are still crying they may be too hot, too cold – The best place to check your baby’s temperature is on the belly or the back. If baby won’t stop crying – don’t panic. Try and distract and soothe using touch and gentle sounds. If crying has become a little overwhelming make sure baby is in a safe position and take a few moments away.
Looking back on the day and listing good things that happen or asking your child to identify an emotion they felt that day is a great way for them to learn to verbalise their feelings, but also a lovely part of the day for parents, too. Reflection can help children see the positive in every day and look forward to a new one.
For adults and babies alike – comfort is key. Dressing baby in natural materials – like organic cotton that’s light and breathable, but also offers warmth will ensure optimum comfort. Also, for new-borns comfortable swaddle blankets can work a treat.
Whatever type of sleeper your little one may be, it can be comforting to know that there are parents all over the world experiencing what you are. You’re all doing an amazing job!