Bedtime Tips for Happy Parents
Becoming a parent is a huge thing, so welcome to the club! The journey is going to be bumpy at times, and the nights will almost certainly be long...but it’s worth every bit of pain, fear and exhaustion. Honestly! One of the hardest things to come to terms with when you become a parent for the first time is the lack of sleep. Yes, it’s true what they say- babies really do cause sleepless nights, and not always because they’re waking in the night. So much changes when our babies are born; all of a sudden we have a whole brand new person to take care of, and that can be scary!
Here at Cuddledry HQ we want to bring you honest tips and advice that will hopefully ease those fears and help you along the way. This time, we’re looking at bedtime tips for happy parents- because if we get them to bed peacefully and calmly, the chances of them staying there all night are higher, right? Fingers crossed…
Have a good bedtime routine
This is a tip that almost every parent will tell you works for them. A good bedtime routine is essential for establishing a sense of calm and for helping babies to understand the order of events leading up to bedtime. Lovely blogger Kate, who writes at Family Fever, told us that a good bedtime routine has always been a vital requirement for her four children. She told us, “Try and keep to the same sort of routine every night so your little one knows what to expect,” which echoes the theory that once a solid bedtime routine is established, your baby will start to expect bedtime and the body will begin to tire in preparation for sleep.
Sharon, who blogs at Teen Tween Toddler, adds that your routine “doesn’t have to be identical everyday (as not everyone gives baths daily) but as routine as possible,” and Mo, who blogs at Adventures of a Novice Mum, believes that allowing your baby to lead the way is key to finding the routine that works for you. She told us it’s important to “study your baby/ toddler to find their natural rhythm, then build a bedtime routine around it; taking every opportunity to reinforce it. What works for one child might not work for another. Be flexible and keep your humour near.”
Great advice. Find a bedtime routine that works for you, and don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Your baby is an individual and you know them best, after all.
Don’t stress about sleep!
Yes, bedtime is all about sleep, but really don’t stress about it. You want to keep your bedtime routine as calm as possible, and if you’re uptight about the night ahead your baby is going to pick up on it sooner or later. Kirsty blogs at Life With Boys and she told us her one piece of advice for new parents would be: “Don’t stress if your baby doesn’t sleep straight away – it is not a given that just because they wake up every hour now, they will do so forever. Embrace the extra cuddles and stock up on coffee.”
Easier said than done? Yes, sometimes. But the baby days are so short (despite how it feels now!) and one day you will look back at these days with fondness- we promise! Kaye at Hello Archie agrees, and advises new to parents should “try not to stress (though it can be hard). The calmer I am, the calmer they tend to be (eventually!)”.
If you find it hard to relax when it comes to bedtime and the sleep that you hope will follow, try these tips:
- Enlist the help of a partner or friend to help out and lighten the load
- Take a break! If the bedtime routine is stressing you out, ask your partner to take over
- Make time for you. We all need ‘me time’ and maybe yours is long overdue?
Forget about everybody else’s babies
Your baby is a unique individual and that’s what makes them so fantastic. We are all different and we all have different wants, needs and quirks. Please don’t worry about what everybody else’s baby is doing! If your baby wakes in the night, that is probably normal. If your baby needs you to rock her while she falls asleep, again that is probably very, very normal. When it comes to the issue of sleep, Rachel at The Little Pip says, “If it works for you it doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing.” and this is echoed by Victoria at Mummy to my Little Cheeky Monkey, who says that she swears by ‘calm down time’ so that you can “find out what works for you and your child.” Excellent advice, if you want to keep your head at bedtime.
Mix it up
A good bedtime routine makes a solid foundation for babies when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. What your routine looks like depends on you, and because of this we can’t possibly tell you what you should do each night. We can tell you that most families opt for a period of wind down time with dimmed lights and muted sounds, followed by a warm and relaxing bath, perhaps a story, a feed and then bed. But feel free to mix up the order, and remember that for some babies and toddlers, a nightly bath might not be the best idea!
Amy at The Smallest of Things told us that “Bath time hypes my youngest up (luckily enough to wear her out) but that may not be the case for everyone. So find something that works for you as a family,”. If this is the case for you- and remember that as babies get older, the temptation of splashing in the bath becomes greater- maybe you could try an afternoon/ morning bath instead?
Sleep will come eventually
Sometimes it can feel as though the bedtime routine is going on forever, with no signs of actual sleep at all. But don’t fear. As Laura at Life With Babykicks told us, ” Eventually every baby will get there, some take longer than others but they get there. You are not doing anything wrong if your baby doesn’t sleep when they are older. Keep your chin up!” and Alyssa at Mum to a Monster agrees: “They will do it when they are ready. Try not to let it rule your life. ….. *cough* my just over 4 year old has done 5 nights sleeping in a row now !!!! Never happen before !! We are all in shock.”
Enjoy the precious baby days as much as you can, and let the sleep come when it’s ready.