We all love a routine. The comfort of knowing what’s coming and what you need to do is unrivalled, helping you rid of your stress and anxiety. Without one, you can feel like you’re reaching in the dark, floundering trying to remember what you need to get done and unsure of when you should or can do it. With a new baby, you probably feel like that most days, living on your baby’s schedule or complete lack thereof, but creating a bedtime routine that’s calming for you and your little one can go a long way to making you feel a little more in control.
Mixing the science of your baby’s development with the logic of self-care that you probably understand much more, night-time routines are proven beneficial for both the here and now of improving sleep, and long-term behavioural development. So let’s get a little cosy, here are our top reasons why a nighttime routine is so important for both parent and baby.
It creates a sense of security
For your little one, each day is a lot! The world is full of things to learn, bright colours, loud noises and excitement, no wonder they need so much sleep to recover from it all. This is especially the case around the five-month mark. Around this time, your baby will be going through a phase called object permanence, which in short is basically when they realise they and the world around them exists and interacts. They become aware of their surroundings and their role within it, which unsurprisingly can leave them feeling out of control and overwhelmed. So by having a regular, routined night-time your baby can feel a greater sense of security and safety, knowing that they will always have their bath and a cuddle at the end of a big day of discovery.
Over time, this can also cause sequencing where your baby will begin to recognise that one thing always follows another, so milk will always follow a bath, coming right before sleep. Recognising their routine and becoming aware of what is happening gives them a greater sense of control as if they’re involved and in the know, in contrast to the confusion of the rest of the day. To help them feel extra secure, trying swaddling or carrying them in a sling for half an hour for a big dose of bonding and comfort before beginning your nightly routine.