This post is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.

If you’re a parent, then you know that newborns regularly wake at night. Most babies will need you during the night for feeding, and help with settling during the first six months.

Night waking means mom and dad are not getting enough sleep! Less sleep makes it harder for parents to keep up with the daily demands of caring for baby, and day-to-day responsibilities. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you may be feeling exhausted and stressed. Lack of sleep can cause mom to feel irritable, and unable to function throughout the day.

That’s why it’s important to start a sleep routine at six months – ideally somewhere between three to six months. I attended the International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, and met Dr. Jodi Mindell, author of Sleeping Through the Night. Hosted by Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Mindell offered practical tips that can help set the stage for sleep success for babies – and in turn, better sleep for moms too!

Sleep problems are some of the most common problems parents face with their kids. You may wonder about how to get your child to sleep through the night. There are some tips to help baby enter into dreamland:

Set a sleep schedule

Sleep habits help parents as well as baby. When baby goes to bed before 9:00 p.m., babies tend to sleep better, according to research done by Dr. Mindell and others.

In fact, according to the study entitled Sleep and Social-Emotional Development in Infants and Toddlers published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, later bedtimes and less total sleep also causes children to feel separation distress, general anxiety, and depression/withdrawal!

Another of Dr. Mindell’s studies included 33,717 parents of children (aged from birth to 3 years) across the globe. In many regions, especially in Asia, the Middle East, and Brazil, young children have very late bedtimes with significantly less nighttime and total sleep. I know that kids in Europe tend to go to bed much later than in North America! It’s quite normal to see kids out having a late-night dinner with their parents in parts of Europe, but it could mean that sleep problems are higher too.

If parents use a consistent bedtime before 9:00 p.m. – ideally between 7:30 and 8pm – babies will sleep better and longer, the results of the study revealed. Do consider how many hours baby has been awake during the day, how many naps baby had, and the wake-up time of the last nap.

Have a bedtime routine

Having a consistent routine improves night waking in babies too, according to Dr. Mindell’s research. Families who never have a bedtime routine have a bed time problem. Also, later bedtimes, longer sleep, how long it takes to fall asleep, and less total sleep were associated with more social-emotional problems.

Johnson & Johnson encourages bath time to help babies fall and stay asleep. First, give baby his last feeding followed by a bath, a massage and/or a bedtime story. Infant massage can make babies more relaxed and lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Dads can be a part of bedtime routine by massaging baby, giving baby a bath, or reading a story.

Bedtime Routine Means Better Sleep for Baby and Moms

Bedtime Routine Means Better Sleep for Baby and Moms

Sleep alone

Once baby has had her bath, massage and story, put her down in her crib drowsy but not asleep. The goal is to have baby self-soothe at bedtime!

Moms need sleep

Moms need sleep too! In fact, 55% of moms report poor sleep with 26% getting less than six hours of sleep per night. We need at least four hours of sleep to function during the day, with an ideal time of eight hours per night. Here are some tips to help mom as well:

  • Sleep when baby sleeps
  • Go to bed early
  • Have your own bedtime routine
  • Getting outdoors in the morning – it’s good for baby and mom
  • When baby wakes at night, have dad change baby and bring baby to you to breastfeed
  • Limit or avoid alcohol and caffeine

Hopefully the information I’ve shared will help your baby sleep better, and help give you more sleep too!

What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced with your baby? What are some things that helped you gain more sleep?

The International Confederation of Midwives alongside Johnson & Johnson participated in a Guinness World Records attempt and set the record for the largest Infant Massage Class!

Bedtime Routine Means Better Sleep for Baby and Moms

Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is Publisher/Editor of amotherworld. Follow her on Twitter @amotherworld and @lifeandtravelca.

16 Comments

  1. Not only is it good for you and your baby it also gives you your sanity. I always have a bedtime for my child and I still do because I need time to myself with my husband. I am a firm believer in bed times.

  2. This is really helpful advice. It’s good to know that a consistent schedule and routine can have such a positive effect on your baby’s sleep!

  3. Amy Desrosiers Reply

    I was so strict with my kids when it came to bedtimes. I made sure I put them in the same time every night and it totally worked. They slept the whole night and still do.

  4. Great tips! Sleep and babies has never been my strong suit and luckily I am done with that stage. I wish I had been more serious with a sleep schedule with my babies.

  5. Getting sleep with a newborn baby seems like an impossible task. These are some awesome tips. I used to nanny for newborns and one thing that I advise all parents is to get the baby to sleep around their schedule, not for them to work around the baby’s schedule. It takes some adjustment, but if you can fit the baby’s sleep schedule into your day to day life, you’ll be better for it.

  6. Claudia Krusch Reply

    Having a bed time routine is so important. These are some great tips. I always try to stick to the schedule. I can really see a difference when my Son stays up to late.

  7. Once our kids slept thru the night it was the best. Routines are best but which ever way works for someone that’s the best option

  8. Having a bedtime routine is so important. Our son seemed to get his days and nights mixed up. I felt like a zombie some days.

  9. It’s so hard sometimes to set and keep a bedtime routine but I agree the payoff is worth it. I think babies are just generally happier when the day progresses with a routine they are familiar with.

  10. I was with you until you said avoid caffeine! Just kidding! I know I need better and more sleep. Even though I don’t have any babies in the house, sleep is imperative for us all.

  11. I don’t have a newborn, but do have kids and a busy schedule. Often stay up without sleep, struggle all day and it continues. I have a set date that I’m going to stick to a better schedule.

  12. I so remember these days when my kids were little. Having a good sleep schedule is key for babies!

  13. Yes, I am big believer in the fact that the family needs routine. Especially when it comes to sleep with babies!! And food with toddlers and kids for that matter!

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