Kiddipedia

Kiddipedia

Everyone will always tell you “all babies are so different!”  So how is it that there are so many sleep routines out there that expect every baby to be able to conform to the same feed and sleep time each day?  To me, it’s just not realistic. I’ve had many clients feeling really stressed that they can’t get their baby to follow the routine or even parents who are staying home all day every day to try and implement it – I’m sorry guys, the baby hasn’t read the book!

Saying all of this, there certainly can be structure to your daily routines, it needs to be flexible hour to hour, day to day.  For example, if your baby feeds poorly at the first feed of the day, you might expect that they want a feed a bit earlier than what the routine might dictate.  What are we going to do in that situation? Force a screaming hungry baby to wait another hour because it’s not “feed time”? Longest hour of your life.

 

So, aim for a flexible feed, play and sleep routine.  This means;

  1. feed baby as soon as they get up  
  2. let them have a play and
  3. put them to sleep when they are showing you they are tired

 

Simple! (?)  You can take this with you anywhere; to grandma’s house, whilst at the shops or on holidays.

Newborn babies will barely have any awake time.  Whilst a baby who is 3 months may be able to stay up 1.5-2hrs.  As your baby gets older, you will be able to get a sense of how long is a good amount of awake time.  

It is important to get to know their tired signs so that when you see them you pop them to bed promptly.   Early tired signs include jitteriness, averting your gaze, red eyebrows and hiccups. Crying and yawning are late tired signs.   If you feel confused about this, check out this fact sheet and video example on The Raising Children’s Network

http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/is_my_child_tired.html

Sleepy time routine

Once you get the hang of what your baby’s tired signs are, you can put in place a predictable sleepy time routine that your baby recognises as part of bedtime.  For example;

  1. Say to baby “…. you’re tired! Let’s go to bed”
  2. Take them to their room and close the blinds
  3. Pop them in their sleeping bag and put them in their cot

 

The more consistent you are with recognising tired signs and following the same sleepy time routine, the more your baby will be able to self-settle and sleep for longer periods.

Other simple aspect of a flexible sleep routine

Babies should be exposed to natural light throughout the day during their feeding and play time so they know it is daytime.   

Babies have a bath as part of their evening wind down time.

Parents keep things non-stimulating overnight; no playtime, as dark as possible, nappy change only if necessary so baby knows it’s night time.  

 

Sleep is not always perfect.  You can do your best to implement these strategies but don’t let it ruin your day in things don’t go exactly to plan.  Have a consistent sleep and bedtime routine if it suits you and be flexible enough to let it go on the days it doesn’t or the baby isn’t going for it.  

 

I hope this article helps you to ‘Stress Less’ and enjoy your baby!

Check out the sleep chapter of my book The Stress Less Baby Guide at www.stresslessbabyguide.com.au

 

You may also like to read:

How to Avoid the Dreaded 4 Month Sleep Regression

Our experience attending a Sleep Study

5 Lullabies to put your baby to sleep