Soother, Pacifier, Dummy! Good or Bad!?

                               Soother, Pacifier, Dummy! Pros and Cons

There is a whole lot of information out there and one of the topics I hear a lot about is the use of soothers/pacifiers/dummy, etc. and whether they are “good” or “bad.” Some sleep experts subscribe to a “no-pacifier” policy, which may work well for you.  However, I must say I have no issues with the use of a pacifier during the first year of life.  That being said, there are things to keep in mind in terms of safety while using a pacifier.  I  feel that if your baby feels comforted, soothed and calm while using a pacifier and you wish to keep it, then go for it and keep it!  If you’ve introduced the pacifier but want to get rid of it completely, than that’s just fine as well.  And if you wish to never have a pacifier in your home, there is nothing wrong with that.  To me, pacifier use is a personal choice and I believe that a baby can establish healthy sleep habits with or without a pacifier in their first year of life.

Let’s take a look at some of the PROS and CONS of using a pacifier. 

PROS

  • Sucking is a natural instinct for babies.  Many babies have been sucking their fingers since they were in the womb. This sucking can be very calming and comforting for a newborn.  Newborns have a natural desire to suck and a pacifier can be a good alternative to the breast where baby may suck seeking comfort rather than nutrition.

  • It may help baby to self-soothe.  Because the pacifier helps to calm and relax an upset baby, it assists babies when learning to control their feelings/emotions and makes them feel secure and at ease.  Babies feel soothed when they can suck and introducing a pacifier may lead to a calmer baby and maybe, calmer parents.

  • The use of a pacifier may reduce the risk of SIDS.  It’s not totally clear how this works, but doctors and paediatricians have stated that giving a newborn a pacifier for naps and night time sleep may reduce the risk of SIDS.

CONS

  • Eventually you will need to wean your baby/toddler off the pacifier and get rid of it completely.  This can often feel challenging for parents when your little one has formed a strong attachment to the pacifier. (If your little one is a fan of the pacifier, ditching it around 12 months may be an easier way to go about it, rather than waiting until they are older and even more attached!)

  • Research suggests making sure breastfeeding is well- established before introducing a pacifier so that there is no confusion for baby- since sucking on a pacifier (or bottle) is different than the breast.  Once breastfeeding is going smoothly, a pacifier could be introduced if the family wishes.

  • Regular pacifier use during the first year of life does not cause any dental issues, however, it is said that prolonged use can cause problems.  Use after the age of 2, top and bottom teeth can start to slant or shift.  Use of a pacifier at the age of 4 is where long-term dental issues can start to develop.

Tips for using a pacifier safely:

  • Choose a brand that is free of bisphenol-A (BPA)

  • Choose a pacifier that has ventilation holes in it allowing air to flow in.

  • Do not attach the pacifier to a cord or string during sleep times (this is a strangling hazard).

  • Don’t let babies share pacifiers.

  • Never put anything on it to “sweeten” the pacifier such as honey or sugar- of course this can damage your baby’s teeth.

  • Keep it clean.  Until your baby is 6 months, boil it frequently and (as long as they are dishwasher safe) run it in the dishwasher.  As they grow (6+ months) you can begin washing it with just soap and water.

  • Let your baby set the pace. Don’t force it on your little one if he is uninterested or refuses.

 Ultimately, the pacifier is a personal choice and I respect either option.  Whichever decision a family makes regarding the use a pacifier, to me, is the right decision for that particular family.

Our Personal Journey With Naps

My 14 month old daughter knows how to nap.  In fact, she’s a pretty incredible napper. However, in no way was this an ability she was born with.  Not even close. Getting to where we are today took work. Very few babies are excellent nappers all throughout their napping career without a little (or A WHOLE LOT) of guidance and support from Mom, Dad, caregiver, etc.  Sleep was a major priority for me as a Mom when I first had my beautiful baby girl.  This was probably because I am very similar to my daughter.  I don’t function well on little sleep.  In fact, I’m a “mama monster” without my sleep. This basically means, I find it very challenging to function as my best self when I am overcome with feelings of exhaustion and sleep- deprivation. So I knew from the beginning, that in order for me to be the best Mom and wife I could possibly be, we would all need to figure out a way to get some rest. 

 When my daughter was a newborn (0-3 months) she basically slept whenever/wherever when it came to day time sleep. Nights were spent in her bassinet but because naps are generally a lot more difficult for little ones to figure out, she was like every other newborn: sleeping in Mom, Dad, Auntie, Grandma or Grandpa’s arms at random and unpredictable times.  Around 2.5 months I noticed that she fell into a pretty consistent pattern.  She would nurse, be awake and “play” for 30-45 mins and then show major signs of exhaustion and scream bloody murder until we found a way to pat her to sleep in our arms.  This cycle of “eat, play, SCREAM, sleep” continued to be fairly predictable but the problem was, the only way I could get her to sleep was while I was holding and patting her, sitting on my couch.  Sounds ok, but as she grew bigger, my arms became tired and I desperately needed to be doing more than spending the day on my tush, patting and shhhhing on and off all day! Around 3.5 months I decided she was ready to start gently learning how to sleep on her own in her bassinet for naps, just like she had been doing for nights.  This didn’t mean she had to sleep every nap this way- but it meant we were going to start trying to get her to take 1 nap a day in her new sleep environment. 

And so we began to GENTLY work on naps in her bassinet. It took some time.  Some days were a disaster.  Some days I couldn’t bear the protest and we went for a little “walking nap” in the carrier. But we pushed through and were consistent with our efforts, and boy did it pay off. Around 5 months she got the hang of it and was taking 3 fairly consistent naps in the day.  Again- no baby is perfect.  Some days I couldn’t get her to take that last “end of the day nap” for the life of me.  Other days she seemed too good to be true.  But I always made naps a priority because I knew my daughter’s needs. She has always needed a lot of sleep (just like her mama) but often didn’t know how to do it all by herself.  It was up to me to guide her and support her as she learned these new skills. 

Around 9 months when she transitioned to 2 naps, she had really mastered her napping talents 😉  Heck, it’s because of these two naps that I have been able to study, organize and launch a business all working during naps and night time when she slept soundly.  Being able to depend on these predictable, consistent and consolidated naps (usually 1.5-2 hours each! I told you, she needs a lot of sleep!) has given me something I cannot fully express in writing.  These breaks have given me the chance to spend time doing what I love in terms of career, has allowed me to feel rested and refreshed each day, and has given me a new sense of love and gratitude for my daughter (rather than frustration and resentment that can build up over time when I was previously feeling exhausted and out of control.)

She is now 14 months and taking 2 naps a day. It won’t be long now until she drops that second nap, and we will be onto a new schedule of just 1 nap.  Sometimes the transitions are tricky, even a bit of a nightmare. Sometimes we have an off day.  But when we can be consistent with our efforts, we are giving our babies the gift of sleep, rest and rejuvenation.  It takes some patience and I’m definitely not saying that nap work is easy.  It’s actually the most difficult aspect of sleep to improve.  But it’s so worth it, for the sake of the entire family.  Very few babies are born “great nappers” but every baby has the ability to become a superstar napper 🙂

Tummy Rolling In Her Sleep! What Do We Do?

When your sweet baby first learns to roll onto his tummy in his sleep, this can feel like quite a curve ball being thrown at you! Sleep was going well, now all of a sudden your peanut is waking through the night because they have rolled onto their tummy and they do not seem to like it!   Like EVERYTHING sleep, responding consistently to any behaviour is the best way to go about things. 

When your baby wakes in the night, whether from rolling, standing or for any other reason, it’s important to have a basic “plan” of how you will respond to these wakings so that 1) you and your partner can be on the same page and so that 2) your baby receives a consistent response each and every time.  Often where we run into trouble is when we have little idea what to do in the middle of the night (fair enough) and we try 10 different things hoping to solve the problem.  Unfortunately though, the message being sent to your baby becomes very inconsistent and over time, this inconsistency begins to reinforce full fledged night wakings and crying. 

So, if we can head into the night with a bit of a “plan of action” in regards to how night wakings will be handled, we will be able to remain consistent with our baby.  Like I said, when it comes to sleep, consistency is the best approach. 

So what does this have to do with a baby rolling onto their tummies in their sleep, or learning to stand in the crib? Well, If we can get on board with sticking to a consistent response, baby will be able to work through this new experience with ease and in a quick manner. 

What typically happens, is that because baby is used to sleeping on their backs for the first 4-5 months of their lives, when they wake for the first time and find themselves on their tummy, they may cry out or even scream as though something is terribly wrong! Assuming they are 5+ months old and have the ability to turn and lift their head using their arms, tummy sleeping is actually fine.

However, because this position is completely foreign to baby, they will likely express some frustration!  Mom and Dad may have the tendency to go to baby, flip them back over, only to have them roll back onto their tummies a few moments later.  Again the cycle repeats: baby screams, Mom and Dad roll baby over, baby is back on their tummy later on that night.  What ends up happening is, Mom and Dad begin engaging in a little game of “Wack a Mole” or “Jack in the Box” when referring to standing in the crib.  They stand, you lay them down, they stand again! And sometimes this turns into an all night game!

While as a parent we feel we are doing the right thing for our child by returning them to their familiar position, we are actually interrupting their natural sleep cycle and preventing baby from adapting and transitioning into this new developmental phase of moving around the crib.  It’s important that parents try to refrain from interfering too much, so that baby is able to move and experiment with different sleep positions.  Many babies this age, when left to their own devices, end up figuring out that tummy sleeping is wonderfully comfortable, and sleep beautifully on their tummies.  We don’t want to interfere with this natural process. 

The reality of what this means is that there may be a few nights of interrupted sleep where your bub is experimenting with a new found sense of mobility.  My advice is to refrain from intervening so that your baby learns as quickly as possible.  If we get into the habit of constantly engaging in this game of “Wack a Mole” we are not giving our darling the chance to work it out themselves and this likely prolongs the process.  If you must, go in and roll your baby back onto her tummy and then leave it at that.  If you must go to her, make sure to flip her back onto her back only the ONCE.  If you can be consistent with letting her just be, the challenging part will only last a night or two.  They now have the capability to try out new postions in hopes of finding the most comfortable postion for them.  So many babies end up loving the coziness of sleeping on their tummy- they just need to work through the tranisitional part first 🙂

Sleep Regressions: What to Expect

Sleep regressions can be very frustrating to deal with.  Either 1) your baby was sleeping well and then all of a sudden begins waking up in the night or 2) your babe has always had a difficult time sleeping through the night, and is now sleeping even worse! Both situations can feel extremely challenging to deal with, and rightfully so!  This sudden change with your baby’s sleep may leave you feeling confused and exhausted.  So let’s take a look at the term “sleep regression” to better understand what is going on!

Basically, a sleep regression is a period of time usually lasting between 1-4 weeks, where a baby or child begins to wake more frequently in the night, has difficulty falling asleep at bedtime and/or refuses to nap, for no obvious reason.  It can often feel especially surprising for parents, who previously had a great little sleeper but is now all of a sudden waking in the night!  

There are a number of sleep regressions that we commonly see in the first two years of life.  Remember, every baby is different and some babies may experience these regressions earlier or later than others.  Some may even skip a sleep regression all together (lucky family!)  If a “regression” lasts for months and months though, it’s possible this is more of a sleep habit that needs attention rather than a regression that will pass.  In general though, there are 5 common sleep regressions to become familiar with:

Age: 4 Months

Why? Sleep patterns begin to follow the 24 hour clock, production of melatonin and cortisol (effected by light and dark), increasingly aware of their surroundings and more alert (sleep is more similar to that of an adult, rather than newborn).

Age: 8-10 Months

Why? Physical developmental milestones such as scooting, crawling, pulling up, increasingly verbal,  possible teething.

Age: 12 Months

Why? Less common, usually impacting naps, refusing to take 2nd nap- treat this as a regression rather than readiness for 1 nap a day (babies drop to 1 nap around 15-18 months).

Age: 18 Months

Why? New found independence, walking, talking, tantrum-throwing, separation anxiety, possible teething.

Age: 2 years

Why? Transition to longer wake times in the day,  potty training, new sibling, nightmares, testing boundaries. 

Tips on how to handle sleep regressions: 

  •  Growth spurts can be associated with these sleep regressions, so for the time being feel free to offer your little one some extra nourishment before bed or even add an extra feed into the day.

  •  I always recommend an early bedtime to all my clients, but it may be especially helpful when you’re facing a sleep regression.  If your baby is waking in the night or refusing to nap, it is likely they are over-tired or even sleep-depriced, so getting them in bed a little earlier may help them have a smoother more peaceful night. 

  • Comfort and reassure your bub but try to not introduce any new habits that your little one will begin to rely on to fall back to sleep upon waking. If we begin to always put baby back to sleep by rocking, bouncing, nursing, bottle feeding etc, your little peanut will end up needing these same actions in order to fall asleep time and time again for every night waking.  Try some basic “shhing” or patting to calm your baby rather than responding with feedings or boucning. 

  • Remember that expression: this too shall pass! Hang in there and remember that everything is temporary. Sometimes it is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and your current situation feels like it will last forever.  It won’t.  If you need additional support and would like 1-on-1 guidance, email me today.

Bebe de Luxe: Organic Natural Bath Milk

Bath time is a pretty important part of our bedtime routine at home.  As you may know already, in my opinion, consistent bedtime routine is a MUST, so it’s important to make it a time that you enjoy with your little one.  Bath time is always a great way to get the routine started. This is definitely one of my favourite times of the day in our home.  I recommend bath at bedtime to many of my clients for a number of reasons: 1) It can be incredibly calming and relaxing. The simple action of sitting in warm, gentle water can literally make your child feel peaceful and sleepy. 2) When you start your bedtime routine with a bath, this cue becomes a positive sleep association for your child. When used consistently, as soon as they hear the water running they begin to recognize that the day is coming to an end and it’s time to get ready for bed. 3) If your baby is still taking a few naps in the day, a bath at bedtime differentiates daytime sleep from night time sleep. Baby learns that the bath only occurs before night time, which helps to regulate their sleep patterns and rhythms and eases them into a deep long sleep.

 Now that my daughter is really engaged and playful during her bath, I’ve noticed that she thinks it’s a fun little game to drink the bath water! My main concern with this has been the soap we are using.  It worries me that she is ingesting chemicals and toxins and I’ve found it challenging to stop her! (She is stubborn and feisty:)  Recently though, we found a solution.  Bebe de Luxe Coconut & Oat Milk Bath is an organic, free of toxins, parabens and carcinogens milk bath and is completely edible (if your child does indeed continue to drink the bath water despite your efforts to stop this).

Naturally rich in fatty acids, vitamin E and saponins,  this gentle milk bath is the perfect addition to your child’s bedtime/bath time routine.   Not only is it safe for your baby’s sensitive skin but it also cleanses without without stripping their natural oils, which replenishes moisture.  The Vitamin E found in the milk bath helps to heal dry skin, minor cuts, burns and rashes.  Many of the moisturizing properties of the coconut milk are anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal which kills the yeast often known to cause thrush and diaper rash.  The health benefits here are so much more outstanding than any baby cleanse you might find at your grocery store or pharmacy. 

We love it so much we have decided that you need to try it! If you purchase any Peaceful Sleepers package with support, you will get a lovely sample of the product and 10% off all Bebe de Luxe products. If you have reached your wits end with sleepless nights and need some compassionate, nurturing sleep support, now is the time to give me a call.  Initial 15 Minute Consultations are completely free 604.908.1548 and  we can get started today.  Trust me when I say, that things CAN improve and with if we work together we can and WILL get your little babe sleeping fully through the night. 

Sleep is a Learned Skill: Wait…what?

This might surprise you: sleep is a learned skill.  Did you know that? Putting ourselves to sleep independently is something we must LEARN how to do and is not an ability we were born with! Isn’t that completely unexpected!? Being able to put oneself to sleep is an important skill and a pretty awesome one at that! It requires great self-regulation and the ability to self-settle and soothe. It’s not something we were born with the ability to do.  As you probably know,  many babies are able to sleep, but they need major assistance FALLING asleep.  Usually this assistance of getting baby to fall asleep,  comes from a caregiver. This is where Mom & Dad come in.  Of course in the early weeks/months, we do whatever we need to do to get our babies to sleep and feed them when they need to be fed.  We may nurse or bottle feed, bounce, rock, hum, sing, jiggle, dance, twirl, drive, or stroller walk to get our little peanuts to sleep.  This may feel perfectly fine in the beginning, which it absolutly is!  

What happens over time though, is that however baby falls asleep at bedtime, is how they will need to be put back to sleep once waking in the night.  This doesn’t sound like such a problem, and for a little while, it’s not a big deal.  But the science behind baby sleep is a little bit different than that of an adult. A newborn baby’s sleep cycle last about 40-50 minutes!  This means that very shortly after they drift into a nice deep sleep, they begin to wake (45 min mark), entering a partial arousal.  During this partial arousal, they may wake just a little, take a good look around and realize that their sweet milk, pacifier, or the calming bouncing, or rocking is gone and immediately wake fully out of frustration! “Wait a minute! Where are you!? Where is that milk!? Get back in here, how am I supposed to do this on my own!?”  (This is what I always imagined babies would say if they could, in the middle of the night :))  What ends up happening, is in order for parents to get their little ones back into that peaceful slumber at 2, 3, 4 AM, they end up having to repeat a particular action over and over again! The more we do it, the more our babes depend on it and the less they learn how to put themselves back to sleep without Mom and Dad’s constant help. 

As time goes on, and babies develop and grow, they begin to form sleep associations which are little cues telling them “oh ya, we are going to go to sleep now!”  The bottle may be a strong sleep association, or breastfeeding or being bounced on a bouncy ball.  And there is truly nothing wrong with any of these actions themselves.  Many of these daily rituals are some of the greatest joys of becoming a new parent.  

 I can tell you from experience, that nursing a baby to sleep is something so special, well, there are no words to describe the beauty of  it.   However that being said, having to nurse every hour through the night, month after month because baby will only fall asleep while eating, is a whole different story in terms of enjoyment.  Baby is not sleeping and therefore neither is Mom or Dad- and for me and my family, that just didn’t work for anyone.  And don’t get me wrong,  it might work for some people which is just great.  But for us it didn’t.   So, what’s important to remember is that there is nothing “bad” about rocking, nursing, feeding, bouncing, or the like but just know that if we consistently use these associations to put our children to sleep they will need the same response upon waking.  (As humans, we all wake many times in the night as we come out of a sleep cycle.  The difference is as adults, we are SO good at self-regulating and self-soothing that we often don’t notice or even remember many of our own night wakings, because we simply fall back to sleep.)

So I guess my point is rather simple: we can give our children and babies a chance to learn how to fall asleep independently by making new sleep associations that do not require Mom and Dad’s assistance all night! AMAZING, right!? (that means you’ll be sleeping while your child is quietly falling back to sleep after waking, connecting one sleep cycle with the next). New associations may include some of the things I have mentioned in previous posts such as introducing a lovey or blankie to provide comfort and security, using bedtime routine consistently, and putting our little ones in bed awake so that the when they wake in the night, the environment in which they are waking is exactly the same as when they fell asleep at bedtime.

To me, sleep is vital to my family’s health and well-being.  It recharges my battery and gives me the energy to make each day count.  Getting proper sleep is the same for our little bubbs in fact, it’s arguably even more important.  So don’t be afraid to help teach your baby how to sleep well so that they wake each morning with a smile and have the life-long skill of sleeping like a champion!  We as parents can give our children this gift. Sounds pretty good to me 🙂

Sleep & Travel: How To Plan For The Best

Summer is upon us.  What a faboulous time to relax and spend time with loved ones under the sun. For many of us, this means we’re hittin’ the road and taking a much needed vacay with the family.  For many parents, this raises a variety of questions regarding sleep and how to plan for the most relaxing and restful trip possible.  Very few families (if any!) want to be up all night bouncing their baby, or dealing with a screaming child in the wee hours of the morning.  Below are my Top 5 Travel Sleep Tips to help make the transition to a new sleep enviornment as smooth as possible for your little sleeper while away from home:

1) Recreate a similar sleep environment

We want to make our little one feel as comfortable as possible, while away from home.  Try to recreate his own peaceful sleep environment that he is used to at home.  If we bring special sleep items from home that your child is used to, your sweetie will recognize these and it will provide him with a sense of security and comfort.   Although the actual place may be new and different for your child, he will feel at ease knowing he has a few familiar pieces that he is used to.  So, make sure you bring along with you the following special sleep items (or others that you use consistently for sleep):

* familiar lovey/stuffy

* white noise

* books used at bed time (if you read books)

* comfy, familiar jammies

2) Stick to a familiar sleep schedule

It is to be expected that the schedule and routine will look a little bit different during a trip away from home.  However, we do want to try to stick to a similar sleep schedule as the one your child is on at home.   So for example, if your baby is currently taking an afternoon nap everyday, try to give your child the opportunity to have this nap, around the same time as back home.  This doesn’t mean you need to be stuck at the hotel for 2 hours every single afternoon, but perhaps if you have a really ” on the go” day, you can plan for a 1PM stroller nap or a car ride so that your child doesn’t become over-tired at bedtime.  But try not to stress- If the schedule gets off track one day, do not get discouraged.  Do your best to get things back on track the next day.  

3) Keep the bedtime routine going!

Keeping the bedtime ritual fairly consistent can go along way for your child while you are in a new place.  Not only will this routine make your babe feel safe and secure because of its familiarity, but it will trigger the same sleepy response as it does at home (see my post from last week regarding “The Bedtime Routine”).  So if and when possible, try to keep the bedtime routine going.  It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but as long as you have a few predictable, familiar activities that are normally being done at home, your child will respond well to this and will feel more relaxed and calm when going to sleep for the night in a new environment.

4) Spend some time in the new sleep environment

If you will be bringing your own pack n’ play with you, it doesn’t hurt to get your baby familiar with their new sleep environment even BEFORE the trip has started.  Let her take a few naps in the new sleep space before you leave and then once you arrive,  give her a chance to get familiar and comfortable with the new environment by giving her 5-10 minutes of play time in the pack n’ play as you sit close by.   Giving her a chance to become comforable with her new sleep arrangment may reduce negative bedtime battles that may could come up if your child does not feel familiar with the sleep environment. 

5) Don’t stress!

Do your best to follow and implement these tips while travelling with little ones, but if sleep does not quite go as you hope, its ok.  Consider your child’s schedule and familiar rituals but also be flexible and try to relax when things don’t go as planned.  When you return home you can put more energy into getting everyone back on a regular schedule. 

Safe & Happy Travels!

The Beauty of the Bedtime Routine

I’ve decided that for my first blog post, I’d write about something that I value very much and believe acts as a foundational starting point for promoting healthy sleep habits.  It may sound a bit silly at first, but bedtime in our house has developed into our absolute favourite time of the day! It has become a ritual so predictable and joyful, that we all feel a sense of coziness and comfort as we get ready to end the day with a few simple calming activities.  In our house, bedtime has become a real bonding time for my husband and I and our daughter.  Its nothing fancy or elaborate.  Its actually rather simple and basic.  But its a unique time in the day when a loving, peaceful ritual is in place. And in many ways, that’s very comforting to have. 

That being said, I have noticed that “bedtime” does not always produce such heavenly, blissful feelings for many young families.  In fact, it can be quite the opposite.  For many parents, bedtime is when the day REALLY starts to get crazy.  Bedtime is filled with fear and frustration, and as I begin to work with more families I hear more and more of the same thing: “Bedtime is the hardest time of the day for us.”

But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be.  Bedtime can be a quiet, peaceful time that helps calm and relax our children and babies before they head into a deep slumber.  But the question is, how do we make it that? This sounds like one of those things thats easier said than done. What every parent should know is that a simple bedtime routine is a must.  It just is.  Children and babies need a chance to unwind and prepare for sleep.  They need time before bed to quiet their bodies and minds.  I suggest that every child has a stable bedtime routine, every night from as young as 8 weeks old. 

But it’s not just about creating a time that’s quiet and less stimulating than the rest of the busy day.  It’s also about consistency and predictability.  What makes for an extremely successful bedtime routine is it’s predictability.  Children and even young babies thrive greatly when they have a bit of structure and routine in their day.  When they are able to understand what’s coming next, this makes the older kids feel empowered and in the know, and the younger ones feel a sense of security and comfort because the activities taking place are familiar and therefore,  safe.  When babies and children are able to think “ hey we are taking a bath, I know next we get our jammies on, then a bottle! We must be getting ready for sleep!” they feel less surprised and more secure.  Its all about doing a few simple activities in the same order, every night. 

Bedtime routine works so well because it 1) allows for babe to unwind and relax and prepare for night time sleep, 2) allows child/baby to feel safe and secure knowing what’s coming next and 3) acts as a strong and powerful sleep association (when used consistently, often the act of say a bedtime bath, or the reading of the bed time book/ singing of a song, can be enough to literally trigger sleep and make the child feel sleepy and tranquil in the process).   Bedtime routines do not need to take an hour to complete, and they do not need to involve 25 elaborate “wind-down” activities. They just need to be calming and consistent. 

Tips for an Effective Soothing Bedtime Routine: 

*Keep it peaceful: Keep the lights low and tones quiet during the entire routine. 

*Keep it simple: Choose a handful of simple activities to carry out each night.

*Keep it consistent: Once you have a routine, stick to it!  This consistency will make it so that anyone can run the bedtime routine; grandma, auntie, babysitter etc.  (This means date night IS possible!)

*Keep it predictable: Carry out each activity in the same order every night. No surprises for your little babe. 

So give it a go! Its never too late to start implementing a bedtime routine.  Often once you do, you will find that bedtime changes from a time of stress and chaos to a time of real bonding and connecting- the most awesome way to end the day!

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