In Part 1 of this blog series, Creating a Bedtime Routine, I shared the 'Why' of bedtime routines.
Now let's to move on to 'How' to create your own ritual and routine that will make bedtime a happy, smooth part of your and your baby's day.
The basics of this routine are for it to be simple, sweet, and repeated every night and even every day at nap time (in a shorter form) so that your baby's brain is signaled to prepare for sleep.
Ideas for creating your routine:
First of all, baths do not HAVE to be part of your bedtime routine. For some babies, baths are too stimulating before bed. Also, bathing every night is, in my opinion, too drying to the skin (of children and adults). So what should be part of your bedtime routine?
Quiet, calm activities like reading, singing, and talking about the day
A last feeding in dim light with lots of eye contact but little talking
Gentle touching and a soothing voice as you get baby dressed in jammies and a diaper
One or two rituals like: turning on a sound machine or special night-light, pulling the curtains closed together and saying goodnight to the moon, sun, trees, birds...
A phrase that wraps up the routine and signals your departure from the room like: “night night, I love you” or “sweet dreams, night night”
This last one is particularly important, especially when you are first using a new routine. It's essential for your routine to be simple and a reasonable length and a closing phrase brings all the activity to an end, which is important for you and your baby to know. Now it's time to get to sleep!
Most importantly, create a ritual and routine that is calming to you - your attitude about bedtime will be communicated to your baby so feel calm and confident about saying, “goodnight”!