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Posts Tagged ‘bedtime routine’

FACT #1: Establish a good schedule (eat, wake, sleep)

If this is the only thing you take from baby wise, then great! Babies thrive from consistence. If you are constantly changing up the schedule and routine daily, your child will have a more difficult time achieving good nighttime sleep. Every day should have consistency with a wake up time that is the same every day (our’s is 7am) and a bedtime that is the same every day (our’s is 7pm now). In between the start and close of each day, your child will cycle through several eat, wake, sleep cycles. This trains you child to not become dependent on nursing or bottle feeding to fall asleep. And beleive it or not, this helps with nighttime sleep too. If you babies wakes in the middle of the night, she may be able to put herself back to sleep if she is not dependent on nursing or bottle feeding to fall asleep. For more on eat, wake, sleep cycles see my post entitled “Infant & Baby Schedules”  http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/16/infant-schedules/

FACT #2: Keep Sleep Props to a minimum

Baby Wise urges parents to stay away from sleep props such as nursing or rocking baby to sleep or sleeping with your baby in a shared bed. There is nothing wrong with any of these sleep props. There are many parents who do this with their children and it works for their family. But if you are attempting to use parent-directed feeding and Baby Wise, these sleep props will hinder your progress. The goal of Baby Wise is to help teach children how to fall asleep on their own without someone’s help. Having said that, I will say that I believe it is okay to rock your baby to the point of drowsiness before laying her in her crib. Just don’t allow them to fall sleep in your arms.  For more on putting your baby to bed drowsy but awake see my post “Put Your Baby To Bed Drowsy But Awake” http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/09/put-baby-to-bed-drowsy-but-awake/

FACT #3: Some crying will happen (Cry-It-Out)

If you are using Baby Wise, then they recommend putting your baby in his own crib awake. Some babies will fuss or cry in their crib before falling asleep. Baby Wise suggests allowing your baby to cry for up to 15 minutes. If your child is still crying after 15 minutes, go in a check on him. You might want to pat him on the back or hold him in your arms for a little.  Then leave the room and try again. Every baby is different, if I showed my face even after 15 minutes my son would cry longer and harder.  I had to learn that when we where in the heat of sleep training (Cry-It-Out), I had to just leave him be. We had a video monitor so we could make sure he was okay. Thankfully, the hard nights really only lasted for 3-5 days, maybe 7 days at the most.  We started putting my son to bed awake by drowsy when he was 4/5 weeks old at night. At first he would cried for 20 minutes before falling asleep, but it did not take long (maybe 4-5 days) and his crying diminished. I believe by the time he was  3 months old, he rarely cried going to sleep at night. If he did cry, it was because he was overstimulated and needs to blow off steam.

FACT #4: Some babies make noise, fuss, or cry during sleep transitions (so don’t rush in)

Babies sleep cycle are about every 45-50 minutes. During this transition from one sleep sleep cycle to the next, your baby may partially arouse and make noise, fuss, move around, or even cry. As hard as it is, don’t rush into their room to check on them. Give them a few minutes to settle. “Sometimes you may think your baby is waking up when she’s actually going though a phase of light slumber. She could be squirming, startling, fussing, or even crying- and still be asleep. Or she may be awake by on the verge of drifting off again if left alone. Don’t make the mistake of trying to comfort her during these moments; you’ll only awaken her further and delay her going back to sleep. Instead, if you let her fuss and even cry for a few minutes, she’ll learn to get herself to sleep without relying on you (BW p. 146)” My son use to wake from his naps in between sleep cycles (45 minute intruder) and would cry for 5-15 minutes when he was 2-4 months old. I learned to leave him alone or he would never complete a full nap and be cranky. For more on baby’s sleep cycle read my post entitled “Infant Sleep Cycles” http://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/04/13/infant-sleep-cycles/

Important Reminders

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Just like it is good to establish a good bedtime routine, it is just as important to establish a good morning routine. In Kim West’s book Good Night, Sleep Tight she discusses a good part of a morning routine should be a “dramatic wake-up”. A dramatic wake-up should signal to your child that the day has started and it is different than waking in the middle of the night. To establish a “dramatic wake-up” try opening the blinds, turn on the bight over head light, and signing a happy song.

Why is this important? You want your child to know the difference between day and night. This helps to establish the difference clearly. If you have to go into their room during the night, you are are not going to sign a song and turn on a bright light. At night you keep as little stimulation from occurring as possible. The morning is the time to arouse and stimulate your child, helping them to set their natural alarm clocks. This is particularly important with newborns who are very sleepy. Many newborns have their day and nights confused- this helps to distinguish the difference.

It might also be helpful if you allow daddy to do the dramatic wake-up. This gives daddy the one-on-one time with baby and it does not require nursing (if nursing). Daddy can sing and talk to the baby while mommy either readies herself to breastfeed or perhaps is preparing the bottle. If you baby is not starving, you can also include a diaper change and change out of pajamas. Young infants tend to wake in the morning crying from hunger, you might have to delay the diaper change and clothing change until after the feeding. Another suggestion, try feeding your child in a well lit room that is not in the nursery in the morning. This will also help to establish the start of the day. Keep the day time feeding out of the nursery and all nighttime feeding in the nursery.

Here is what we do with our son for a “dramatic wake-up”

Dad goes in his room, turns on the light, opens the windows, and talks and plays with Cooper for a minute or two. Daddy then brings Cooper into our bedroom so that I can breastfeed him. After I finish feeding him, I put him on the potty (we do infant potty training), change his diaper, and put on a outfit for the day. We do this routine pretty much every day. Notice that daddy gets to get him up and I feed him. We share the responsibility and it gives us each quality one-on-one time with your son.

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In the book, Good Night, Sleep Tight, the author write about the importance of establishing a good bedtime routine. This is not the time to be stimulating our child with a tickling war. Rather, this should be a calm, whine down time for you and your baby. The key is calm. Do activities that are not highly over stimulating and do the same routine every night. Doing the same routine every night will help signal to your child that it is now time to sleep (not play). Children thrive from routine and it is never to early to begin! Make sure you start your routine in enough time to get your child in bed at your chosen bedtime. For example, if you child goes to sleep at 8pm, make sure you start your bedtime routine at least 15-30 minutes before bedtime at 7:30pm.

My Son’s Bedtime Routine

Every night when my son Cooper was a newborn, we would bathe, nurse him (or bottle), turn on white noise (fan or white noise machine), swaddle, rock him a little (to the point of drowsiness), and put him in his crib.  As Cooper got older, our routine change a little: bathe, nurse/bottle, white noise turned on, swaddle/sleep sac, prayer, and put in crib. Cooper no longer needed the rocking to help calm and soothe him for bed. My son has had different bedtimes at different ages. Currently my son goes to bed at 7:00pm. We start our bedtime routine at 6:30pm so we can have him in bed by 7:00pm.

Suggested Activities for Bedtime

Read Books, Infant Message, Bath, Sing, Listen to soft music, rock/hold/ cuddle, nurse/bottle, walk with baby, gaze at mobile in crib together, rock in rocking chair

It should be noted that newborns often need extra help to whine down at night. It is important to give them extra time to calm and relax for sleep. Try not to put your baby in their crib asleep. It is okay to get your baby to the point of drowsiness, but try not to put her down for the night asleep. This will not help your child learn how to get herself to sleep on her own.

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