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Bedtime Routines

Evidence suggests that having a consistent bedtime routine in place results in decreased behaviour problems at bedtime, shorter sleep onset (the time it takes to go to sleep), decreased night wakings during the night and an increased sleep duration. Also daytime behaviour is found to improve.

Check out my review of the research regarding bedtime routines in a further blog.

Babies thrive on predictability and routine. Providing a consistent routine can offer your little one safety and security.

Interestingly, research has shown that from as early as 6 weeks old institution of a consistent bedtime routine, can lead to improvements to sleep in as little as 3 days. This implies that young babies are capable of learning that the sequence of events that you do prior to bedtime indicated that sleep is coming. Having a simple bedtime routine in place is a really easy way to start to make positive changes to your babies sleep habits.

A simple bedtime routine is all that is needed. It should last about 30 minutes. Any longer you may run the risk of having an overtired baby. The most important part is ensuring consistency. This means doing the same things in the same order each night. A bedtime routine may be as simple as:

  • Bath/ Wash (you do not have to bath your child every night, especially if they suffer with skin condition, but it may be that you wipe their face etc)

  • Moisturise/massage

  • Dress

  • White noise on

  • Sleeping bag/Swaddle

  • Feed

  • Story

  • Bed

The reason I am a fan of having a bath before bed is because research suggests it facilitates sleep due to a slight drop in core body temperature on coming out of a warm bath. It also acts as cue that bedtime is nearing. However, if bathing your baby is too much to do every night or your baby has a skin condition that is made worse with frequent washing, there is no need to worry. Not bathing your baby every night will not ruin your bedtime routine as long as you are consistent with everything else.

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