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It feels like such a long time ago that LP and Little Man were babies. Any parent will know that sleep doesn’t always come naturally to babies and sometimes you have to work quite hard to establish a good sleeping routine for them over a period of time. That’s definitely how we found LP and Little Man’s early years.
Both LP and Little Man were born at home and they were both breastfed for over a year. Neither of the babies slept for more than three hours at a time until I stopped breastfeeding but even during that time we got into a really good routine with them through the night and day.
How do you establish a sleep routine?
As new parents we started off following advice online like this Emma’s Diary Sleep Advice infographic. There’s so much advice and information out there that we found it best to read everything, try everything, and find a routine that worked for us as a family.
From when the children were around three months old we started to have a bedtime routine with them. At about 6pm we’d give them a bath, get them into a fresh nappy, sleepsuit and sleeping bag, turn the lights down low and read them a story, feed them and put them in their bed. The start time got gradually later as we got quicker at bathing and changing them until it settled on 6:30pm with them going to sleep anywhere around 7:30pm.
Both of the babies slept in our room in a crib for the first few months before moving into their own rooms at around six months and we had a baby monitor on whenever we weren’t in the same room as them.
The babies would often feed to sleep which worked for us. If they didn’t fall asleep whilst feeding we’d cuddle them or rock them to sleep and we still fondly remember the sleepy song we’d sing to them at the same time.
When it got to the children’s first birthdays we started getting them used to going to sleep without being fed first but the rest of our sleep routine stayed the same. We’d have a bath, get pyjamas on, dim the lights, read a story and get ready for bed.
We’d then sit next to their cot, hold their hand or rub their back. Over a period of months we cut down this process gradually and by the time LP and Little Man turned two they would happily lay down and go to sleep by themselves.
The main thing for us during all of this was establishing a consistent sleep routine from the start. We had a clear bedtime for the children and even now, years later, they both start getting ready for bed and winding down at the same time each evening. I’m so glad that all those years ago we took the time to get into a sleep routine that worked for the children.
Do you have any sleep advice? What worked for you when establishing a routine for your children? I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Until your baby is six months old, the safest place for your baby to sleep is in their own cot, in the same room as you, whether it’s during the night or at nap time in the day.