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How to create a consistent & effective sleep routine for your baby

Helping your child sleep better

The most important thing when wanting to help your child sleep better is consistency. This is not just a word - it means choosing a way forward and sticking to it. Children thrive with routine and consistency because they know where they stand. Even when they test the boundaries, knowing they will get the same response from their caregiver gives them a sense of security. This also is helpful with behaviour issues. If parents are chopping and changing their responses, children get confused, and this is often why sleep training fails.

One of the most common causes of waking in the night, early rising and taking a long time to fall asleep is over tiredness. Getting naps spaced well through the day is important. In particular, there should not be too long between the last nap and bedtime. Repositioning naps, changing bedtime and consistent responses can have an amazing impact on your child’s sleep. See the sleep chart below.

Getting back into a good routine after Christmas

Hopefully you had a good solid routine before Christmas and if this is the case, getting back to it should be quite easy but might take a couple of nights. If not, the New Year is the perfect time to introduce a bedtime routine. This triggers your child into knowing sleep is coming and then they are less likely to fight it.

Start by having a calm, no screen wind down. Some gentle playing, maybe a jigsaw or some quality one to one time. This is an ideal time to give a snack. Older children tend to use the excuse they are hungry to delay bedtime so preempt this. A warm bath, pjs and milk if they have it, and then a story would be an ideal routine. Tuck your child in, a cuddle and then ideally they should take about 10 minutes to fall asleep. If they are taking less time than this bring bedtime a bit earlier as this is an indication they are very tired. This would then mean they are crashing out from exhaustion and not self settling to sleep. If your child cannot self settle they are much more likely to wake through the night.

Feeding your child to sleep can work if then they stay asleep until morning. However, if they are waking through the night and the only way you can get them back to sleep is to feed them again it might be worth trying to stop the feed to sleep association. This can be done by feeding your baby/child at a different point in the routine. So possibly before their bath so the last part of the routine would be a story and then sleep.

This guest blog was written by Lisa who is a sleep consultant with 25 years experience working within early years. Her own daughter was a dreadful sleeper so she knows how hard, lonely and exhausting it is when you are sleep deprived. After getting help, she became interested in sleep, helping other parents and started her own business. Then in 2023, she became a founding certified partner with The Sleep Nanny.

She strongly believes that no parent or child should suffer from lack of sleep and almost all children can be supported to sleep well. The sense of complete joy Lisa gets from helping families get amazing, sometimes life changing, results is something she cannot put into words and you can read some of the testimonials on her webpage.

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Lisa motivates, identifies the issues, develops personalised strategies which suit you and your child, understands your situation with compassion and no judgement, support and advise you especially when things get tough. Her ultimate goal is to provide families with improved sleep quality and establish healthy sleep habits.

Sleep is too important to carry on without it.

To write down your baby's sleep routine, habits, or patterns, check out our luxury baby journals


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