I spend a lot of time in nurseries and children’s bedrooms with my work as a baby sleep guru. So I think it’s timely that I looked at the bedtime routine.

Routines create security and reduce the stress hormone cortisol

It helps your baby and child know what is coming next. It’s important to stick to the same order and do things at the same time whilst responding to individual tired signs.

Reading a book as part of a bedtime routine is really important

Little bookworm. Young mother holding baby and reading a book

Little bookworm. Young mother holding baby and reading a book

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. Reading a book before sleep has also been shown to consolidate learning. http://www.bbc.com/news/health-30776745

Reading books helps teach your baby about patterns, sequences and maths! Yes, it’s bigger than just words on a page and we way underestimate it! When you’re reading a book it’s important to point underneath the words you’re reading. It teaches your baby these are words and helps them connect spoken words to the written word. Then point to things on the page and let your baby/child know what is happening on the page.

https://www.nurtureparenting.com.au/reading-and-talking-to-your-baby-building-brain-development/

Babies appreciate a bedtime story from 6 weeks to 3 months old onwards. Read my blog on ‘How to choose a good bedtime book for baby’https://nurtureparenting.com.au/bedtime-books-for-babies/

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 helping your baby get to sleep and stay asleep.

Not sure what’s involved in baby massage? Watch my ebook trailer to get a glimpse of how simple and easy it is to include it in baby’s routine : https://www.facebook.com/pg/NurtureParenting.BabySleepGuru/videos/?ref=page_internal

It’s good to think about introducing a routine to a baby at around 3 months old.

Keep it simple with a bath, a story, a milk feed (breast or formula) and bed at around 7pm. Always put baby down to bed awake in the cot to prevent a sleep association of being fed or held to sleep. A baby who goes down awake in the cot can then re-settle throughout the night and not need you to help them back to sleep. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2661995/The-price-rocking-baby-sleep-Infants-note-going-drop-want-thing.html

If you do this before 4 months old you’ll almost certainly NOT get a 4 month sleep regression. I never had any in England and we taught babies to self settle from a young age (2-8 weeks old). I talk in more detail about these techniques for the early weeks in my blog on Baby Sleep Learning, where I outline how getting it right from the start can avoid the need for sleep training entirely later on: https://nurtureparenting.com.au/baby-sleep-learning/

For older babies, 6 months plus this is my preferred routine

For older babies, 6 months plus, my preferred bedtime routine is evening meal at 5pm, bath at 5:30-6pm. I also have a blog on a suggested flexible plan for the entire day and can be found here: https://nurtureparenting.com.au/the-6-12-month-old-flexible-day-plan/

I like to do the milk feed and story in a quiet, dimmed bedroom. This helps your baby wind down and process their day. Bringing them back into the front room is too over stimulating and creates big issues with older babies. It is too light and TV may be on. This is all disastrous for triggering melatonin.

One story, milk feed (breast or formula) and then a second storybook and 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.

Tell your baby ‘night night it’s time to sleep now,’ a little kiss and a cuddle and down awake in the cot and off to the land of nod. Sleeping like a baby.

More info on bedtime environment for baby & toddler sleep

Do night lights help babies and toddlers sleep?

➡️ https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nightlights-and-baby-toddl…/

How much white noise is safe for baby’s sleep?

➡️ https://nurtureparenting.com.au/white-noise-babies/

😴 Flexible day routine for every baby development stage.

You’ll find several FLEXIBLE day routines in my nurture sleep program.

When you join you’ll have access to these routines that accommodate the key changes that come with each stage of your baby’s development.

You get direct access to my 3 decades of experience as a registered midwife and child and family health nurse via the program.

You can take your baby from sleepless to slumber in up to 7 easy lessons across 3 age groups once you join.

➡️  https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-program

🍌 FOODS that promote baby sleep
ROUTINE: easy, flexible, sleep-ready
💡 ENVIRONMENT: getting it right
👶🏽 DEVELOPMENT: changes, how these affect sleep
😴 SLEEP METHODS: secret tips that will change your life

It will stop the guesswork and give you:

A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep)
Evidence-based
Gentle baby sleep methods
Holistic assessment
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep-inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos
Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time

Nurture Sleep Program

The 6 -12 month flexible day routine

Bedtime books for babies

Parents need Baby Sleep Learning

Baby Massage, the magic of touch ~ eBook & embedded instructional video