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      Establishing a bedtime routine

      It may feel at first like you’ve not got much chance of getting a good night’s sleep, but teaching your newborn a good bedtime routine now will make the months to come much easier and less sleep deprived. By six months old, your baby should be able to sleep through the night without a feed, so from six to eight weeks in you can begin getting them into a routine which will help your newborn learn to sleep at night.

      Regular nap times

      Sticking to set nap times throughout the day and a set bedtime at night helps your baby get into a regular sleeping routine and means you can keep track of how long they are sleeping - and get some shuteye too! There might be a little bit of trial-and-error involved as you learn just how much sleep your baby needs, but don’t be afraid to wake them up if they’re sleeping for longer than you think they need to.

      Baby sleep patterns

      Teaching your baby the difference between night and day is important. To help your baby get into the habit of sleeping for short spells throughout the day and longer periods during the night, try teaching them the difference between the two. Make daytime light, bright, noisy and exciting. Even when they’re napping, try not to block out the world, and don’t worry about keeping things quiet.

      Come nighttime, make your home dark, quiet and calming as their bedtime approaches. Once your baby is in their cot, close the curtains, and if you are near their room, keep voices low and turn the TV down. The change in atmosphere will soon help your baby tell the difference.

      Getting your baby ready for bedtime from 6 months onwards

      For babies aged 6 months and older, a consistent and predictable bedtime routine will help them relax and settle at the end of the day. Like any of us though, babies take time to get used to a new routine, so keep going and soon they will expect it and feel secure with it.

      Try our five steps to help you enjoy some quiet (and that’s the key word) time together as you get your baby ready for bed:

      • Wind down with a warm, calming bath – a signal that the day is coming to an end. It’s time to put on soft, fresh nightclothes so they’re warm and comfortable through the night.
      • Turn down the bedroom lights – a cosy atmosphere will let your baby know it’s time to quieten down.
      • Give your baby their usual warm milk – it can help settle them by providing a warm and satisfying end to the day.
      • Sing a gentle lullaby or read a bedtime story – reading or singing in a soft, soothing voice will let your baby know that you are there to comfort them and that it’s safe to settle.
      • Kiss your baby goodnight – your touch and smell will help them feel safe and secure.

      When do babies sleep through the night?

      Once your little one reaches six months, you might start wondering how to get your baby to sleep through the night. They should now be able to get through without a feed until morning, and if they haven’t started to do this naturally, you can encourage them by gradually leaving longer between each night’s feeds. Make sure you keep the mood calm and quiet so they know it’s not time for the day’s activities to start.

      Try not to let your baby get into the habit of falling asleep while you’re feeding them. In the same way, teaching them to drift off on their own will make it easier for them to get back to sleep if they wake in the night.

      Read more about night feeds here.

      Baby sleep training

      Some people believe you should use a ‘controlled crying’ routine so that your baby begins to learn to fall asleep on their own. This is where you leave your baby to cry for a few minutes before comforting them, and then gradually increase the time before returning to check on them over several nights. But it does take a lot of willpower to stop yourself from going to their room to give them a comforting cuddle.

      You may prefer a gradual withdrawal process instead, which can be just as effective. If your baby starts whimpering when you leave, gently and quietly reassure them with a stroke of the head and a gentle “Night night, I love you…” and then leave the room. If you have to go back in, don’t pick your baby up, just repeat the process until your baby drifts off.

      Every parent and baby is different, so try not to get too stressed if a particular sleep routine isn’t working. It can often take you both time to get used to things, so just try to be patient and go with whatever works best for you and your baby.    

      Any more questions?

      Our specialist baby advisors and experienced mums are here to talk and ready to help whenever you need them. You can call us 24/7, or we are available on Live Chat 8am-8pm Monday-Friday.

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