You may be thinking that this just can’t be right. Putting your baby to bed at an earlier time is going to get her to have a better sleep? Yes, it true. Earlier bedtimes are better for your baby than later bedtimes.
Many parents think that keeping their baby up to get her tired out means that she’s going to sleep better and longer. Even though it’s true that the more active your baby is during the day the better she’ll sleep, a baby who is over-tired is going to sleep a lot worse.
You’ve no doubt already had this experience: your baby skipped her nap, she’s staying up late and now she’s having a little melt-down when it’s time for her to go to bed.
The reason this is happening is because it’s far too late for her to be up and she’s much too tired.
How Early is Too Early?
Believe it or not, 7 pm is a great time for you to put your baby to bed. You may think that putting her to bed as early as 7 pm means that she’s going to wake up far too early in the morning. This is not the case at all.
There have been a lot of studies done on how babies sleep. Most of this research shows that the earlier you put your baby to bed the better and longer she’s going to sleep. Babies require a lot more sleep than you think they do.
Babies under the age of one year need about 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night. So putting your baby to bed early just means that she’s going to be getting into the habit of getting just the right amount of sleep that she needs.
Getting Ready for Sleep
It’s important that you get your baby ready for sleep in just the right way. First of all, make sure that your baby is active throughout the day.
Getting plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation is going to naturally tire her out and get her ready for a good night’s sleep. Put your baby’s nighttime schedule above your own.
The more committed you are to a routine the better your baby is going to sleep and stay asleep without waking during the night. Create an environment that is ideal for sleep.
This can mean making sure the room is dark, playing a nighttime music tape, and making sure her favorite stuffed animal is close by.
Importance of Daytime Naps
Yes, even your baby’s daytime naps are important to how well she sleeps at night. Just because she naps doesn’t mean that you can put her to bed later.
Naps are important so that your baby doesn’t become sleep deprived during the day. Babies need to sleep during the day since they’re just not yet capable of going an entire day without sleep.
Also, don’t think that just because you’re putting her to bed at 7 pm that you can skip her naps. Skipping naps will only lead to a cranky and over-tired baby that will be impossible to get to sleep no matter what time you put her to bed.
Put Your Baby to Bed When She’s Still Awake
Don’t get into the habit of putting your baby to bed when she’s already asleep. If she’s falling asleep at 6:45 pm, then this is the time that bedtime should be.
Babies need to be put to bed on the brink of falling asleep so that they can learn how to fall asleep on their own.
If you only put her down once she’s fallen asleep in your arms then she’ll never have the opportunity to learn how to fall asleep on her own. It may seem as though 6:45 pm is far too early to put her to bed, but it’s not.
Follow your baby’s cues that she’s tired enough to go to bed.
Early Bedtime and Consistency
Perhaps the most important thing that you can do when it comes to putting your baby to be is to be consistent. Once you’ve determined that 7 pm is the ideal time for her to go to bed then stick with this time no matter what.
If you have to go out, make sure that you’re back well before 7 pm so that you can start the nighttime rituals that you have in place.
It may mean that for a while you need to curb your own schedule so that you can stick close to home. Make sure that your baby will go to sleep whether it’s you or your partner who puts her to bed.
This way you don’t have to be the only one who needs to be the nighttime parent and you can have some time to yourself. Remember, early to bed makes for a long and happy sleep for your baby.