Happy New Year to you all!
What did you get up to this break? For my family, we spent lots of time with family at home and travelling to Saskatchewan, skating, sledding, and eating way too much food…oh and staying up too late.
I hope you all enjoyed your family and friends this holiday season, but like my family I’m sure your schedules got out of wack because of travel, visiting, time difference, and staying up too late. Now that the holidays are over, your probably thinking…What is the solution to get back to that sleep routine as smoothly as possible?
But first, Let’s talk about what’s a sleep routine?
A sleep routine is comprised of two things:
- First the sleep part: our body’s circadian rhythms (body clock) tell us when we should be awake and sleep. Having this consistent – putting our baby down at the same time for naps and bedtime will develop a predictable sleep routine.
- Second is the routine part: a routine is a set sequence of activities that happen in the same order. As your child ages, their sleep routine may change by length and different activities.
At what age should I start a sleep routine?
Many parents ask me this question, but it’s truly up to you. I do suggest starting when they are a newborn (1-2 months old +) because of a few reasons:
- It’s a great way to bond with your newborn or baby. I usually tell families I work with that this is an excellent opportunity for the secondary caregiver (usually dad) to do the bedtime routine, so they get that bonding time…yes, if your baby is breastfeeding that might be tricky, but this could be a great opportunity to introduce a bottle if you desire.
- A sleep routine is an excellent queuing system that calms babies down and lets them know bedtime is near.
How to start a sleep routine for baby?
There is no exact day to choose, you don’t need to wait till Monday or wait till the weekend. It’s easy, pick a day like today and start your baby’s first sleep routine at bedtime.
What does a bedtime routine for a baby look like?
I will supply you with an example of a sleep routine, but remember you can always change this routine to fit your family’s needs.
- Bath – Great way to queue them that bedtime is coming.
- Feed – Make sure to keep wide awake for a full feed!
- Lotion – make sure to keep that skin super soft!
- Pyjamas – keeping them warm and cozy.
- Book & Snuggle Time – 1-2 books (more depending on age)
- Sound Machine On – white noise or waves work great
- Hugs & Kisses – into the crib awake
- Turn Lights Off.
That’s a great place to start a simple sleep routine.
How long should my baby’s sleep routine be?
This depends on age. As your baby gets older, their time awake time increases, which means you could increase the time of their bedtime routine. Ideally, you don’t want to rush through the bedtime routine, but you also don’t want your baby to get into overtiredness (where they will fight sleep). So, you have to pick a happy medium.
- 0-2months: 10-15 minutes max
- 3-4 months: 15-30 minutes max
- 5-7 months: 20-30 minutes max
- 8-14 months: 20-40 minutes max
- 15 months +: 20- 45 minutes max
Sleep routines are very important for your baby’s circadian rhythm and to determine when bedtime is. The more consistent you can be, the more aware your baby will become when bedtime is near. Remember you can start this routine at any age so if your baby doesn’t have one why not start tonight? If you don’t have a bedtime routine, you can use the one I made as a guideline (that I use for my own clients) for your new sleep routine!
I hope you find some clarity and help to get your family on track with a sleep routine. If you know another mom or dad that would benefit from these tips, please forward the email to them!
If you still have questions or struggling with your son or daughter’s sleep reach out as I offer a Free Sleep Evaluation where we can talk about your unique situation and come up with a step-by-step plan to achieve your child’s sleep goals for 2023!
Cheers to 2023, the year for more sleep!