The brilliant Emily Kelly - Sleep consultant @Snoozy_Sleep offers more fantastic parenting advice - this time about baby routines and how they should fit in with your life!
One of the biggest misconceptions with getting your little one into a good routine is that you have limited flexibility to your day, and your whole life suddenly becomes dictated by naps. When creating a routine for your little one, it should be something that serves both you and them; taking into consideration how important their day sleep is and how important it is to be able to have a life outside your own four walls.
Before 6 months it can be tricky to get a routine in place, as sleep is still quite an immature process, so try not to put too much stress or expectations on your little one. But, after 6 months, you will find a routine is much easier to create (particularly because complimentary foods are introduced) and sleep starts to become more consistent and reliable.
After 6 months I suggest working on nap times instead of awake windows, as average awake windows tend to be less than what littles are actually capable of and under tiredness will give the same resistance at nap time as over tiredness. When creating your routine, have a balanced approach of following your little one’s lead, but also taking some control over timings to support them to better daytime sleep.
Below is a basic example of a routine, and how you can flex things depending on what you have planned for the day:
Wake for the day no later than 7am, this helps to set the circadian rhythm, I suggest trying to get up before your little one to get ready for the day as it sets your day up well
Get your little one ready for the day
Morning nap around 9am, this is either in the cot or on the go if you have somewhere to be
Lunch (lunch can also be on the go to give you more time out and about in the morning)
Afternoon nap around 12.30pm, I would encourage this to be in the cot wherever possible
Catch up nap if still needed, this is usually achieved best on the go as it only needs to be around 15 mins
Bath and bedtime routine
Bed for around 7pm
The above suggestions are there for guidance purposes only. Please follow your little ones lead and adjust timings etc based on what you know your baby’s needs are.
Emily Kelly is a Certified Infant Sleep Consultant, Mum to Milo and is passionate about all things baby sleep. Emily says that she felt it was her duty to pay the gift of sleep forward. Her mission is to empower parents by supporting them in the creation of an environment where their family can thrive through the use of Gentle Sleep Training.
"I have helped many families out of the dark and desperate hole of sleep deprivation and have provided the light on how to find joy again in their parenting journeys. I will say to you what I said to myself; you do not have to suffer, and nor do you have to compromise on your parenting beliefs".
Style My Kid is pleased to have Emily as one of our Resident Experts!
More help and support to help improve your childs sleep can be found at https://www.snoozysleep.co.uk