When babies are born, they are yet to understand the concept of time. They do not know the difference between day and night. They are governed by hunger and their biological clock. Knowing this, it is important to respect their meal times and circadian rhythm; however, this doesn’t mean we can’t help them establish a bedtime routine. Not only that, routines will help them feel safe as they learn to predict the day’s events.
How to establish a bedtime routine?
- Play with your baby during the day, so they begin to associate light with playtime.
- At night give your little one a relaxing bath and massage. Just try not to bathe your baby right after dinner, as this can cause reflux, or when they’re very hungry because they may get irritable.
- After bathtime, read them a story or sing a lullaby under dimmed lights.
- Continue feeding your baby in a calm environment and, before they fall asleep, try to place them in their crib when they are drowsy but still awake.
- You can turn on lullaby music or white noise.
- Keep them in a pleasant environment. They can start sleeping in a bassinet instead of a crib.
- Make sure the temperature is nice, not too cold, and not too hot. Many pediatricians recommend 20 degrees Celsius as the ideal temperature; however, ask your pediatrician as recommendations may vary. Likewise, avoid placing your baby near the AC to avoid the airflow from hitting them directly.
- Between 0-3 months babies are not mature enough to learn to sleep alone, and they need some support. Therefore, if they cry it is likely that they require comfort or they might be hungry. Try not to let them cry during this period of development. Instead, respond to their tears and pick them up if necessary, there is no way of spoiling an infant.
- Finally, be consistent with the bedtime routine; soon your baby will learn the difference between day and night.
Try to do these tips daily so your little one gets used to their routine and makes them feel secure. Also, keep in mind that the key to establishing a bedtime routine is consistency and identifying your baby’s cues, so you can adapt your routine to them.