Today we have a guest post from Fi Star-Stone, blogger, broadcaster, author and editor of Childcare is Fun. Here she shares her top tips for a happy baby bedtime.
Plus – scroll down to find out how you can win one of two of her books we have to giveaway.
From all of the parenting questions I receive each week through my parenting blog Childcare is Fun! The most common is ‘How do I get my baby to sleep!’ The magic answer? There is no quick fix, and certainly no one size fits all answer, which is why my book covers lots of gentle techniques I have used over a 22 year career that have worked for me and the thousands of parents who come to me for advice. As with all things parenting, it’s about what works for you as a family, what makes you feel happy and what makes your little one happy. My thought’s on parenting are very much ‘live and let live’ and as long as you and your little one are happy and healthy it really is about choosing what works best for you all!
Routine is the magic key to a good night’s sleep! A good daily routine followed by a regular bedtime routine is essential for a happy sleeper. When I talk about routine, I don’t mean regimented and dull, I simply mean regular feeding, bedtime, regular nap-times and regular daily activities. Even from a very young age your baby will thrive on routine such as a regular morning outing to the park or meeting other little ones, regular feeding times, and regular nap and bedtimes. It’s also a good idea to incorporate into the daily routine, the difference between night and day. Newborns are not designed to sleep all night and be awake all day so you can gently teach your baby that night time is different to daytime as soon as you feel happy to. You can do this very gently by keeping things a little lighter and noisier during the day, and keeping bedtime a little quieter and darker. A nice bath, followed by a baby massage, and a story (even from a young age) followed by a bedtime feed, or cup of milk for older little ones, is a lovely bedtime routine to get into.
Preparation is the key! Make bedtime a nice time not a grumpy ‘I don’t want to go to bed’ time by making it a happy calm environment from day one. By starting a happy bedtime routine from birth, more often than not, it’ll always be a happy time. Start the wind down to bedtime at least 30 minutes before you head on up to start the bedtime routine. A regular time for bed from early on is a good way of helping your little one love and not loathe bedtime in the coming years!
Check your little one is comfortable! Check that your little one’s sleeping area is comfortable, at the right temperature (not too hot or too cold) and that the room is a happy place to sleep. Ensure your child is in comfortable clothing – try a baby sleeping bag for babies to avoid kicking off blankets in the night – a common problem of night waking! With older children (2+) a comfy quilt and pillow and comfortable nightwear will go towards less waking and more happy sleeping.
Is your little one hungry?
Ensure your little one has had a good last feed before bed. Also keep check that your baby is on the recommended feeds for their age and weight. With both babies and older children remember that growth spurts can cause hunger, so remember to increase feeds (or meal portions for toddlers) when your little one is in need of more.
Many parents cut the night-time milk when their little one gets older, I’d always recommend a nice glass of warm milk before bed, and a non-sugary light snack. My two are 3 and 4 years old and always have a cup of milk with their bedtime story. It keeps them in that ‘bedtime’ zone and relaxes them before bed.
Always comfort poorly poppets
Don’t use any sleep training techniques when your little one is poorly or teething. Offer comfort always. Keep an eye on their temperature when they are poorly and offer fever/pain relief when needed (always check with your pharmacist before giving medicines, and always check the label for correct dosage for age.) Even if you have the most perfect sleeper, poorline
ss or nightmares can cause many nights of disturbed sleep. Just ride the bad sleep wave, and when you are sure they are better, you can get back to a happier bedtime.
Finally, even the most perfect of sleepers will have a disturbed night here or there, don’t worry! My Baby Bedtime Book covers sleep problems from birth right up to pre-teen! If you have any concerns and are really worried about your little ones ongoing sleep issues at anytime, contact your Health visitor or GP who may be able to help.
Fi Star-Stone is a blogger, broadcaster and author, she’s also the editor of Childcare is Fun, a parenting site that hosts the UK’s only award winning, FREE parent advice service. Her book The Baby Bedtime Book is available for pre-order on Amazon now.
We have two copies of Fi’s wonderful new ‘The Bedtime Baby Book’ to give away. Simply leave a comment below and from all comments received by midnight on 31st May we will pick out two lucky winners. Usual Netmums terms and conditions apply.