Bedtime can be a challenge for some babies, but what if you’re only making it harder? Sometimes, as parents, we are not aware that what we do may affect our little ones —even the little things. We might even think that our baby’s sleep habits will appear on their own, but contrary to this belief, sleep is not something we know how to do since we are born. That is why it is important to help our babies with their sleep needs and be aware of the mistakes we might be making during baby bedtime.
Here are 3 baby bedtime “no-no’s” you should be aware of:
Letting your baby stay up late
Believe it or not, this is a very common mistake. Some parents like to play with their babies late at night because they don’t have much time with them during the day or they developed the habit of putting them to bed just before they go to sleep. A late bedtime routine will lead to an overtired and fuzzy baby who will most likely have trouble drifting off to sleep, which can also increase night awakenings.
What to do?
Did you know that most babies display signs of sleep readiness between 6 and 8 p.m.? Be aware of signs like droopy eyelids or eye rubbing before your baby gets a bit fuzzy. If you get them to bed when they are drowsy, but not overtired or completely asleep, it will be easier for them to learn to fall asleep on their own.
Not having a baby bedtime routine
Sometimes your day might be chaotic and with a baby at your side, it seems even more so! No matter what’s going on, it’s important to stick to a routine. Babies thrive on structure and consistency, so bedtime is no different. If you feed them back to sleep, but other times they are rocked or brought back to bed with you out of desperation, you are making it more difficult on your baby and yourself.
What to do?
Create a bedtime routine and stick to it! You can try a bath, changing into pajamas, cuddling, and reading a story or singing a lullaby before putting your baby to bed. Find a consistent pattern that works for you and your child, or take a look at some sleeping techniques that suggest special routines. But remember, no matter what routine you choose, you must stick to it!
Sleeping in different places
Maybe you started bedtime with your baby on their bed, but as the night unfolded they ended up in your bed. It doesn’t matter the sleep technique you have chosen for your baby, the problem relies on the mixed message. All of this confusion can disrupt your child’s sleep.
What to do?
Set a guideline of where your baby should sleep and try sticking to it. If your toddler is old enough to have their bed, encourage them to stay all night in it, and praise their efforts.
Have you ever done one or more of these “no-no’s”? The important thing is not to focus on these common baby bedtime mistakes but commit to change them. Also, keep in mind that some babies begin to sleep through the night when they are four months old, while others don’t achieve this goal until nine months or even later.