September, the time to get back into a routine as we settle in for fall…
Almost everyone I speak to has implemented some kind of bedtime routine for their child. This is great place to start because your child needs to have a predictable and consistent bedtime routine. The steps in the bedtime routine are the cues to signal to your child that bedtime is coming. It helps prepare their body for sleep.
When you want a child to sleep well throughout the night, you always need to start with the bedtime routine. And the number one goal of the routine is to ensure your child has not started his journey to sleep before you place him in bed. He needs to be placed in the crib wide awake. This is where the magic happens!
The most common place where a baby gets drowsy or actually falls right asleep during the routine is during the bedtime feed. This can interfere greatly with nighttime sleep. Falling asleep outside of the crib is problematic. If it happens while feeding this means the baby has a feed sleep association and depends on feeding to go to sleep. This interferes with their own innate ability to sleep well. If your baby falls asleep while feeding, when your baby wakes in the night, the last thing he remembers is laying in mom’s arms nursing or having his bottle. He has no idea how he got in the crib and he definitely can not go back to sleep on his own, as he was not given he chance to do so in the beginning.
And if your baby falls asleep feeding, then you put him down in the crib and he wakes up right away, he has to fall asleep for a second time. And we all know how hard that is to do!
After a baby reaches the 10 week mark, it is always best to move the feed to the first step in the routine, about 30-40 minutes before you want to put baby in the crib. You want feeding to be for feeding, not to put baby to sleep. Do the feed, then bath, jammies and a song or story and then into bed. That will really help break any association that baby has with feeding and sleeping.
You may get some protest for the first few nights while making the change. Hang in there! After a few nights of being consistent, he will be falling asleep peacefully in his crib.