A sleep routine for little ones is absolutely vital and the sooner you start getting them into it, the better. It not only benefits your baby and makes sure they get enough sleep, it will allow you more downtime, sleep and rest yourself, which absolutely everyone needs. Try your best to make your baby feel safe and secure by soothing and settling them down every night – if you allow them to sleep in your bed with you once, they are going to expect it again and again which will be a nightmare routine to change (it is possible but much harder than starting them off with a solid bedtime routine).
There are two sleep cycles:
1) REM (Rapid Eye Movement or active sleep phase) - this is when the baby will probably feel more restless
2) Quiet Cycle – this is when the baby is much more relaxed
Each cycle will last around 20 minutes and will continue in 20-minute cycles for the duration of their sleep. Generally, it’s phase one during the day and phase two for the night.
We have a few tips we wanted to share to help you get into a good routine for your baby or little one.
· How much sleep does your new-born baby need? Generally, it is 16-18 hours in 24 hours when they are about 4 weeks, then from 4-8 weeks they need about 16-17 hours.
· How much awake time? It’s generally 60-90 minutes and then they will be ready for another nap.
· Bedtime routine - set one as early on in your baby’s life as possible or when you’re ready to do so. Keep the vibe calm, have some gentle music playing or sing a soothing bedtime song to your baby, also look at getting blackout blinds to keep any light out when the baby goes to sleep in the evenings or for a nap.
· Bath time - use this as a time to calm the baby and relax them, bath them slowly and gently – soothing them. It can also be fun as they get older but make sure it is always a calm environment.
· Massage - after bath time maybe try and give your baby a gentle massage with some lotion to help calm them.
· Story time – all babies and children love looking forward to that special time at the end of each day when they can cuddle you for a magical bedtime story.
· Creature comforts – many babies and young children have a special comforter. Try giving them a teddy, soft toy or security blanket which gives them some extra comfort and makes them feel safe.
As children get older, their sleep routines will slowly but surely change so just try your best to be consistent as this will ensure that your child gets the necessary rest and sleep that they need, resulting in them looking forward to this special time of day with their parents.