Sweet dreams: How to build a strong sleep routine for your baby

Posted in Sleeping.

Baby’s sleep out of sorts? A great way to get them back on track is to build a consistent nightly routine to give them the best chance come bedtime. It helps gets them relaxed, signals it’s time for sleep and gives you some awesome opportunities to bond along the way.

Chris Minogue is a pro when it comes to getting babies to sleep. She’s a Mothercraft nurse, resident expert on Kinderling Helpline and the author of Bringing Baby HomeWith over 30 years’ experience helping babies and parents, we asked her how she lays the foundations for a strong sleep routine.

Here’s her expert tips:

1. Build in sleep cues early

For newborn babies, Chris uses ‘sleep cues’ to signify sleep time rather than a full routine as they are still too young to form consistent patterns. Such cues could include getting them into a wrap or sleeping bag, having a cuddle and turning off the light.  

“Sleep cues are good for a newborn baby up to about 12-16 weeks,” she explains. “Using cues at this time can lead to an effective sleep routine when the baby is older and more mature.”

2. Differentiate day and night with your feeds

As your baby gets older, Chris says it’s key to teach your baby the difference between day and night by doing night feeds in the nursery, and day ones elsewhere.

“This tells them night feeds are quiet and quick, followed by more sleep,” explains Chris. Day sleeps on the other hand are usually followed by play.

3. Try the ‘feed-bath-feed’ sequence

Chris is a big fan of this lovely little ritual! After six weeks of age, she recommends this knock-out combo to get baby calm and content before they hit the hay.

“Try feeding from one breast or half a bottle before a bath, then give them the second breast or half-bottle afterwards,” she explains. “This encourages them to sleep longer through the night.”

4. Develop this into a longer ritual

As bub gets older, you can expand this routine even more. “You could try a massage or reading a story before the feed, and a cuddle and lullaby after,” Chris suggests.  

5. Try to put them down awake

As a parent, it’s very tempting to rock your baby asleep – and that’s what might feel right for you. If you can though, Chris advises getting them relaxed with your routine and then getting them down while they’re still awake.

“This encourages them to learn to get to sleep on their own,” she explains. “This ability to self-soothe is really important and will help them get back to sleep if they wake in the night.”

This post is sponsored by Woolworths Little One’s nappies

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