I spend a lot of time in nurseries/children’s bedrooms with my work as a baby sleep guru.
Parents often find choosing a good bedtime book a bit difficult.
Reading a book as part of a bedtime routine is really important. Reading helps the wind down process. It’s a transition from a busy day to the land of nod. And as we know routines reduce cortisol, the stress hormone and increase endorphins, the feel good hormone.
Babies appreciate a bedtime story from 6 weeks to 3 months old. It’s also good to think about your bedtime routine and what it should look like. Maybe a bath, massage and a milk feed. Try and do most of it in the same order and keep away from the TV as this interferes with the neurotransmitter, melatonin that helps baby get to sleep and stay asleep.
My preferred routine is
evening meal at 5pm, bath at 5:30-6pm.
One story, milk feed and then a second storybook and then down to sleep sometime around 6:30pm but responding to tired signs.
I find a book just before bed separates out the feeding and sleeping and reduces the chance of baby falling to sleep before being put in the cot.
By having a regular bedtime book that helps the process. Babies and children learn by repetition. It’s really important that the story is not too long and not too many words. Babies have a low boredom threshold! Maybe only a sentence or two each page with lots of pictures and not too long, 10-15 pages.
I like to point to the words as I’m reading, so putting your finger underneath the words as they’re being read really helps your baby and learning. It’s also good to point out a few other things on the page and talk about them.
It’s also helpful if sleep is a theme in the book.
Here’s a list of my favourite bedtime books and hopefully some of these might make their way into your bedtime routine. Happy reading!
- Baby Touch Bedtime Book – a ladybird book that stimulates the senses with a rhythmic text to soothe baby.
- Peepo – a classic by Janet & Alan Ahlberg. It follows a baby through their day. Its beautifully written and it makes you want to know whats on the next page. Each page has a peep hole leading on to the next page.
- Where is the green sheep? – Mem Fox & Judy Horacek
- Twinkle, twinkle little star – amazing baby (Great Ormond Street Hospital)
- Guess how much I love you – Sam McBratney
- Time for bed – Mem Fox
- Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter (I’m from the Lake District where Beatrix spent most of her life penning these children’s classics and this is Mr McGregor’s garden)
- Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise
- Time For Bed – Mem Fox and Baby bedtime – Mem Fox
And Amy and Mia like That’s not my Panda by Fiona Watt
Tell me your favourite bedtime book you like to use for your baby. I’m sure there’s heaps that aren’t on my list!