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The Importance of Baby Bedtime Routines
Babies are a whole lot of work, as any frazzled parent of a newborn will tell you. Whether it's getting up at all hours of the night to feed the cute little poop machine or trying to take a nap in the 15 minutes that baby is happily watching TV, a mother's job as servant, maid, chef, and portable milk dispenser is never done!
As your child grows, you would do well to start setting a routine for bed. The child's consciousness may not know that bedtime is just around the corner, but their body clock will slowly go winding them down in the evening until they are asleep. It's one of the best ways to help yourself, as getting baby on a regular sleep schedule will make it easier for you to plan your moments of rest around their nap times and bed time.
Did you know that having a sleep routine can actually make it easier to handle baby when you're in unfamiliar places? Many babies get fussy and anxious when they are in new places, but sleep routines will calm them down. After all, it is something they're familiar with, so it will help to avoid baby sleep problems when on vacation or traveling.
How can you set a routine for sleep?
Start with play time -- The more time your little one spends playing, the more tired they'll be when bedtime comes around. Spend a half hour or so playing around to help them calm down and get their energy out.
Bath time next -- Once you have helped baby get all their energy out, move them into the bath tub. A warm bath will be excellent at relaxing their muscles, which are probably tired from sitting, standing, crawling, and playing around. It will help them get sleepy - ideal for the next step.
Prepare for bed -- Put on the adorable baby pajamas that make bundles of joy so darn cute, and go through the teeth-brushing, diaper-changing, bottle-feeding routine that helps put the little one down. You can spend time talking to baby, cuddling with the favorite stuffed animal, or just playing a calming game with the little one. Anything that helps them get ready to sleep, do it.
Snuggle and read -- You may think that reading to a young baby is silly, but it helps them to go to sleep and gets them used to the soothing sound of your voice. Snuggle up on that plush baby pillow, organic sheets and comfy mattress in your bed, and lull them to sleep with the sound of your voice as you read to them. (There are many great bedtime stories for babies, which will help them to slowly nod off as you read to them.)
If you go through this routine every night, you'll find that it will help baby - and you - to prepare for sleepy time. Within a few weeks, baby will be tired and falling asleep by the time you are halfway through the routine simply because their bodies are getting used to it.