Establish a good sleep routine early on
I still remember how much I struggled when I first had Sophia, the sleep deprivation was really hard. She was my first and I had no knowledge and so much differing advice from everyone around me. Many of which just told me to follow her lead. Which I think is great but if you want to establish a good sleeping routine for your little one the earlier you start the better for both you and baby.
I have only come to know this now that I have had my third baby, little Arthur. I established his sleep routine with him early on and it was the best thing I ever did for both of us. He has been my best sleeper out of my three and slept through from newborn on the odd night and after a few weeks he was sleeping a full nights sleep mostly every evening. I was shocked as I had never ever had a full nights sleep from my older two until they were about 18 months old.
Why establish a sleep routine with your baby
I know there are lots of arguments for and against having a sleep routine with your little one. But I really believe, even more so if you are having trouble with your little one sleeping, a routine can be so positive for you both. It will add a regularity to your days, your baby will know what to expect and it will have a great effect on your little ones sleeping patterns and moods during the day. Sleep is so important. You can have a look at Emma’s Diary Baby Sleep Advice article here for some tips to help establish a sleep routine with your baby.
Have a regular wake up time and bedtime
Having a regular wake up time is important. All of my children will wake up between 6-7 am in the morning ready to start our day. Having a regular wake up time helps your body to regulate the correct biological bedtime. Which if you establish a good nap time during the day too baby should go to sleep at around the same time every evening.
Wake ups and Bedtimes have always been at around the same time every evening for us. I think it’s important for us as a family and it works for us. I will say though that there is no right or wrong way, and what works for one family may not work for another. I think thats important to remember. Bedtime is usually between 6-7pm, and for my daughter who is nine years old between 7.30-8.30 pm. Sleep is so important for our wellbeing.
Getting your baby to sleep through the night
Every baby is different, and the first weeks it’s so important to get to know your baby. Arthur just fed, and slept he was born a little earlier so I followed his already established routine. I noticed his quiet time while I was pregnant and this was the same pattern he followed when he was born. He was the only one out of the three of my children that never ever woke me up in the night kicking.
This did worry me and I had regular check ups for his movement. But he was absolutely fine each time.
I had regular reiki sessions and osteopathy throughout my pregnancy and I really believe that this helped make us both comfortable in my pregnancy. I struggle with my hip and sciatica during my pregnancies which can make it extremely uncomfortable for me. It was really important to me to enjoy my last pregnancy with Arthur so I did everything I could to make us both comfortable.
Learning your babies signs
When your baby is born its a blur of feeding, sleeping, getting through the day and trying to have some sort of order in the home. But during this time it’s such a special bonding time where you learn all about your little miracle and what they like and don’t like. Do they like to be swaddled, do they guzzle down their milk. Do they like to be held close. I noticed with both my boys how much they liked to eat, both were breastfed. I noticed with Arthur after exclusively breastfeeding for three months he stopped sleeping through the night when he had already been doing so. So I started combi feeding at this point and we carried on this way until he was about 9 months old. It was the best choice I made for the two of us.
Again it’s about learning your babies signs. I had learnt from my previous two that I never introduced the bottle soon enough so both would not take a bottle which meant I couldn’t combi feed even if I had wanted to. With Arthur I introduced a bottle of breastmilk early on from a day or so old. This way we could all bond with him while he fed, his older siblings and Daniel. Something my husband never got to do with the other two because I breastfed and they wouldn’t take a bottle by the time we came to try. Babies are so very adaptable and I really believe as long they are not poorly their needs are very very basic at this point when they first arrive. Its actually my most favourite stage I could just stare at them all day as they sleep, they look so perfect.
Try not to let your baby become overtired
Overtired babies and toddlers are very hard to soothe and help settle. They become so agitated and upset it can make the whole nap time sleep time routine quite stressful.
Before nap time or bedtime make sure your little one has a nice full tummy of food or milk of course depending on their age that way sleep is very easy because they feel comforted. If we have an early dinner even now that my littlest is two years old he will always have some warm milk, or some fruit or a little snack before bed. Sometimes especially in the colder months I will even offer him a small bowl of porridge. Of course this depends when he had dinner and if he ate it all or not.
Keep nap times consistent
It is also important to try and keep nap times consistent in the day time, at least I have found this makes sleep easier in the evening. I also think sleeping and nap time becomes a habit if done at roughly the same timings each day.
Arthur is two now and will nap anywhere between 11 -2 pm. It is quite a large gap but thats because it depends on what we have done that morning and what time he woke in the morning too. He usually just has an hour or an hour and a half nap during the day. This works really well for us.
Every baby is different, and has different preferences. Never compare you and your baby. I personally have had a very different experience each time.
Remember you are their mother and you know best for your baby, have confidence in what you feel is right for you and your baby. Please only use my advice as a guide, This is just what has worked for us as a family, it may not work for you and your family and that is okay.
I love this infographic from Emma’s Diary. Advice of ideas for your bedtime routine with your little one. We always have a bath, a story and cuddles before bed and this has worked well for all three of our children.
*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.