Bedtime Routine for Babies

Last January 2008, I experienced sleepless nights for more than a week because my daughter used to wake up between 12 midnight to 1am. When asked afterwards or in the morning, she would innocently reply, “takot”. Then, we asked “saan ka natatakot?”. she said “ipis” o kaya minsan naman “paputok” daw. So, I decided to research about sleep disorders on the internet.
The following article caught my attention.
Why does a bedtime routine can be the key to a good night’s sleep? According to sleeps expert Jodi Mindell,PhD, “Your baby will be more relaxed if she knows what’s coming next.” “The more relaxed she is, the more likely it will be that she’ll go to bed easily and fall asleep quickly”.
Dr. Mindell added that you can start to follow a routine every night even when your baby is as young as 6 to 8 weeks old. Your baby will quickly appreciate the consistency and predictability of the set of pattern you have started.
There are several activities that you can include in your routine such as the standard bath routine, putting on pajamas, reading a story, having a cuddle, or playing a quiet game. Just make sure you choose something that helps to calm your baby.
You can try the following bedtime routine ideas. Maybe you’ll find something here that’s right for you. Remember that a bedtime routine is often good for parents, too because it is a special time set aside for you to spend with your baby.

Let off some steam
Feel free to let her have a good kickabout or let her bounce in the bouncer if she’s in the mood. As long as you follow up any loud play with something calmer and quieter – like a bath and bedtime story – before she goes to sleep, it can be the first step toward bedtime.

Give her a soak
One of the most popular parts of many bedtime routines is bath-time. Sitting in warm water is a soothing experience and getting your baby warm, clean and dry is a great way to ease her into bedtime. A bath is also a wonderful way for your partner to spend some special time with the baby, especially if you’re breastfeeding and he can’t help as much with meals. If your baby gets excited during baths or doesn’t enjoy them, then leave them out of the night-time routine; instead, have a quiet cuddle or read a story.

Take care of business
Your baby’s getting-ready-for-bed routine can include washing her face and hands, wiping her gums or brushing her teeth, changing her nappy and putting on her pajamas. It’s particularly important to start the habit of teeth brushing at a young age so your baby gets used to it.

(After trying this routine, Althea already knows what comes next after dinner. She will say “Mama, manyo na, to-brush na.” According to her own dictionary, manyo means banyo, while to-brush means toothbrush… hehehe)

Play a game

Playing a quiet game in the living room or on the floor of your baby’s bedroom is a great way to spend some fun time with her before bedtime. Your game can be as simple as a round of peek-a-boo; whatever entertains her without getting her too excited is fine. Before you lay her down, hide something in the cot for her to find – a toy, a postcard, a shiny piece of material – and then talk to her about it. (Don’t forget to remove it from her cot before you leave.)

Have a chat
Bedtime is a great opportunity for parents to spend some time talking to their baby. If you’re not sure what to say at first, simply review her day for her.

(My husband and I love having a chat with her. She updates us about her favorite TV shows including Backyardigans, Dora and even Wowowee (noontime show at ABS-CBN).

Saying goodnight
Many babies enjoy being carried around the room or the house, saying goodnight to people, favorite toys and other objects.

Read a bedtime story
Aside from bath time, reading a bedtime story is also a favorite evening routine for babies and toddlers. Not only will your baby learn to recognize new words – studies have shown that language skills and even intelligence can benefit from a baby’s exposure to a large vocabulary – but she’ll also benefit from the time spent with you.

Sing a song
Singing a lullaby is a time-tested way to help your sleepy baby drift off. She loves hearing her favorite sound – your voice – and the soft, soothing melody can calm her. Now it’s time for your to take a refresher course on famous lullabies hehehe.

Play some music
Starting a CD or tape of lullabies, classical music, or other children’s favorites while you settle your baby to sleep – and then leaving it on after you leave – can help ease her transition from being awake to falling asleep. Gentle music can soothe babies with the added benefit of drowning out outside noise.

You should stick to your usual routine as much as you can, even when you’re not at home — it can make it easier for your baby to settle down in unfamiliar surroundings.
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