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Bedtime RITUALS

Wednesday, January 08, 2014    

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Getting a baby to sleep at a specific time is usually one of the challenges mothers face. But if you work at developing a sleeping schedule for your baby, this issue is usually resolved early and you will be better able to manage your time and get critical things done.

Paediatrician Dr Winsome Miller-Rowe says establishing a sleep pattern is not very difficult.

"They (parents) need to have a pattern of getting them ready for bed. They can play lullabies and soothing music to them at a special time. Babies respond very well to music," she said.

She said parents must endeavour to separate their baby's sleeping area from an area for entertainment. Loud music, constant chatter and the viewing of the television while the baby is sleeping contribute to them not sleeping during the night.

A sleeping pattern won't be developed immediately, it will take about six weeks after birth. The baby will need time to adjust to a new environment after having spent months living inside a darkened womb. They usually sleep lighter the younger they are, which means you will be required to make frequent trips to their sleeping area.

"Parents will have to make a preparation time. If they decide it's time to go to bed at 8:00 o'clock or 7:00 o'clock, then they have to make preparations. They should make sure that the feeding is ready and the baby should get that feeding and then go to sleep," said Dr Miller-Rowe.

Most babies require some sort of comfort before going to bed. This could be the breast, gentle rocking, a stroll in their pram or a nice bath. If you are a parent who will not have the time to put them to sleep on the breast or spend time rocking them to bed, start from early to associate sleeping time with a particular item.

Some parents give their babies a favourite teddy or towel to signify bedtime. Others give a bath in the evening and then leave them in their crib. By doing so, the baby learns to put him/herself to sleep without help.

Here are some bedtime tips from parents:

I give my daughter a warm bath before bed always, nice bubble bath followed by warm milk and then a bedtime story. She's used to the routine and that's the only thing that will make her sleep.

— Jasmine, mom to four-year-old Sylvie

I sing "You are my sunshine". Wherever she is, whenever I want her to go to sleep, that's what I sing. I've been singing it from she was in my belly, and it always calmed her.

— Enid, mom to three-year-old Isabella

It's a bath, a Seuss story (has to be Dr Seuss) and some tickles.

— Nadine, mom to one-year-old Aviane

She reads to me, then I read to her, then she will sleep. I make sure that it's the same time every night, and we do the dinner, bath and then reading routine.

— Amanda, mom to six-year-old Matilda

After reading, and to ensure there are no bad dreams, I say goodnight to Moo and Bear and Ariel and Snowy (toys and stuffed animals), then I have to make sure there are no monsters under the bed. That's the routine every single night.

— Debra, mom to three-year-old Victoria.

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