There are many important factors to consider when trying to ensure your baby gets a good night sleep. While one method alone will not work for everyone if you do persevere then it is just a matter of finding one that suits you and your baby.
In the first few months of a babies life they will not be able to tell the difference between night and day. This causes them to sleep more hours in daytime than at night. The daytime sleep is made up of many naps throughout the day. As the baby gets older they will gradually erase one of the naps and this will continue as they get older. A young child will never be able to see one full morning and afternoon without napping some of the time though the naps get less frequent.
From a very early age you need to set out a baby sleep schedule and to stick with it even though sometimes you may find this difficult. The idea is to instill in the babies mind that now is the time for bed because certain things are happening. This set routine will not only assist you with organizing your time but it will also be appreciated by the baby.
Every mum has their own type of schedule that involves many different things and some of them maybe similar to the ones that have worked for me even though they may be done in a different order. I used to call mine the five step method and I will go through each step so you can see why I do it and how effective it can be. You can integrate any of these methods into your schedule if you wanted to quite easily.
As the baby gets older you can still provide these same five examples though they will be done at different times as the baby develops.
The first Step:
I set aside a specific time of the day for afternoon playtime. This will get the mind of the baby working along with their body. It can be playing with small soft toys or just simple, games of peek-a-boo and other family favorites. The idea is to get the activity out of the way now and as far away as the sleep time as possible so they do not go to bed a little excited and hyperactive.
The Second Step:
After all that energy being used I find this is a good time to give them a bath. Babies normally love the bath time experience nearly as much as the mother. This is a good mother baby bonding session in its own right. By now the baby should be feeling clean and refreshed.
The Third Step:
Before I dress the baby for bed I like to give a 10-15 minutes massage. This is the ultimate relaxing moment for the baby as you give them a gentle rub down on the front and back. Baby massage has many benefits and aids baby development. After the massage has been finished I powder the baby a little then get them into their sleeping clothes. By no the baby should be continuing the winding down toward sleep.
The Forth Step.
I always give a feed before bedtime. After all the energies of the past few hours I think you will find that they are ready to fill tuck into something warm and nourishing. Babies are not unlike adults in many ways. I dont know about you but if I have eaten too much I just want to relax and often fall asleep. Babies do the exact same. After a good feed and still feeling the benefits of the last hour of pre-sleep ritual they should be ready to get into slumber.
The Fifth Step:
If you have done the first four steps correctly the last should be a breeze. You may not need to get into singing, humming, swaying or gyrating mode for this as all your past work is hopefully now going to pay dividends and the baby drops off to sleep of their own accord.
Mission accomplished I pour myself a glass of wine and flop down on the sofa and recap on another eventful day for mother and child. What will tomorrow bring? Who knows.