You can try a pre-sleep routine with your baby from birth. A pre-sleep routine can be used in conjunction with other methods of getting your baby to sleep such as pick up, put down (suitable from birth), controlled comforting (suitable from 6 months) and controlled crying (also suitable from 6 months). However, sometimes a pre-sleep routine is enough in itself.
How to start a pre-sleep routine
STEP 1: Signpost bedtime by telling your baby it’s time for bed.
STEP 2: Give her a bath, feed and story. You don’t have to do all three but it helps, and always do them in the same order.
STEP 3: Put her to bed in her cot. She needs to associate it with sleep so she knows what bedtime means.
STEP 4: When she wakes for a feed, keep it boring. Dim the lights, don’t play or chat and only change her nappy if really necessary.
Positives of a pre-sleep routine
- It’s emotionally neutral so is less tiring.
- It doesn’t require any planning.
Downside of a pre-sleep routine
- It ties you down each evening so you have less flexibility in your own life.
Other things you can do to get your baby to sleep
- Ignore the idea of a set routine and bedtime and only put your baby to bed when she’s properly tired.
- Rock your baby to sleep but shorten the length of the rocking each night.
- Drop the expectation of your baby sleeping through and allow her to nap – but take naps yourself at the same time.