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A Bedtime Routine to Help Baby Sleep

May 19, 2008
Whether your baby already sleeps like an angel, or needs a little help, it's good to remember that babies love routine. They like to know what's coming next, especially when they're about to be left alone in their cot at bedtime. Here's a nice soothing routine to get your baby ready for bed.

Playtime
Have some gentle one-on-one play with your baby - she'll always love special attention from Mum or Dad. If you're playing with an older child make sure you follow any rowdy play with something more calming. Something simple like colouring in or building blocks is ideal. If the weather's nice taking a walk is a good way to get some fresh air and hopefully tire her out - whether she's walking herself or in her buggy.

Bath-time
Soaking in a warm bath is lovely and relaxing and the perfect way to end an evening. Let baby bathe alone or you or your partner can go in with her (or all three of you if the bath is big enough!) Wrap baby up in a warm towel when she gets out and she'll be nice and cosy and ready for sleep. Follow the bath with teeth cleaning if baby is old enough - this will get her into a good habit. If your baby doesn't like the bath then don't make this part of the routine - there's no point upsetting her before bedtime.

Reading
When baby's had her milk and has got a clean nappy and pyjamas on sit down and read to her. Even a young baby will enjoying being read to because it means being cuddled in Mummy or Daddy's arms, and you'll soon find her favourite stories, which she'll enjoy for the rest of her childhood.

Talking
Spending some time talking about what you did that day and what you're going to do tomorrow will give her more time in your arms and essential verbal skills - believe me, it won't be long before she answers you. You can also sing nursery rhymes if baby has any favourites. Don't worry if you're out of tune, baby really doesn't care.

Tell her you love her
When you put baby in her cot tell her you love her - it's always nice to hear and she will understand you one day. Say goodnight, tell her where you're going ('Goodnight darling, it's time for bed. I love you and Daddy loves you and we'll just be downstairs if you need us') - babies understand a lot more than we give them credit for and just hearing the comfort and love in your voice will help her feel safe.
About the Author
Nicola Pedley is the editor of Baby Boom Boom and believes routine can help baby sleep Her baby first slept through the night at 8 weeks and now sleeps for 12 hours straight through
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