Establishing Your Babys Sleep Routine
Until your baby is six months old, the safest place for your baby to sleep is in their own cot, in the same room as you, whether it’s during the night or at nap time in the day.
As a mum of seven, I have had plenty of experience of a babys sleep routine, or lack of it!
I had my first child a month after my 22nd birthday, I had worked with children and studied all about them in my nursery nursing course, read plenty of books (there was no internet back then!) and thought I was all ready for the task of bringing up a baby!
But, to be honest, nobody is fully prepared, as it is such a change to your entire life, suddenly a small person is reliant on you for EVERYTHING and it can be quite daunting. I can remember the first few nights at home with Xene our eldest, she would wake up for a feed and I would turn on the light, change her nappy, wind her and of course after all that stimulation she would then be awake for a very long time!
I soon learned that the nappies were probably going to last a little longer than 3 hours and having a light on in the hallway was enough for me to be able to see to wind her, and actually most of the time she fell asleep on the breast and I was able to carefully place her back into the moses basket, without disturbing her.
Thankfully the mums to be today have lots of great information available on the web! Instead of trying to balance a book whilst feeding like I did! There is lots of information to help with sleep routines such as Emma’s Diary Baby Sleep Advice to ensure you have all of the latest information and guidance.
My biggest piece of advice to mums to be is that a baby has spent up to 9 months cocooned inside you, listening to your heartbeat and taking in all that’s going on around him or her (in slightly muffled tones obviously), they can sleep when they want, they can exercise and play footsie with your belly, usually just as you are trying to get comfortable to sleep yourself!
But once they are out into the big wide world they also have some adjusting to do, and for at least those first few months, whether we like it or not, most of the things you do will be based around that tiny human, they will want to feed often, they will sleep quite a bit, though not usually at the time you would like them to! So maybe you and your family will need to make a few adjustments too.
I was dreadful at going to sleep in the day when they were small, I would sit for hours staring at them sleeping, instead of getting my head down too, and once we had more children to take care of those much missed naps with baby number one were very few and far between!
Those first few months will pass by in a blur and before you know it your little one will be able to tell the difference between night and day, they will go longer between feeds (unless they are having a growth spurt) and you will be able to establish a babys sleep routine that will work for your family.
But everyone is different and family circumstances may mean your child’s routine will be slightly different to others, when our eldest two were small my husband didn’t drive and some weeks he had to be in work for 6am shifts, no buses ran at that time and we couldn’t afford taxis every day, so every morning I would drive him to work. On another week he wouldn’t finish until 11pm, so my two eldest children got very good at falling asleep wherever they were, in the car or in their cots, but I got pretty good at transferring them between the two without them even waking!
If you are fortunate enough to be at home every evening, this Baby Bedtime Routine Checklist may be helpful.
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