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How to implement a routine to get your baby to sleep through the night.

Las rutinas para reducir el estres
How to implement a routine to get your baby to sleep through the night most of the time.

When people find out that I have five children, there's one question that always follows, "How do you manage with five?" The answer has two parts: the first is that I have no choice, and the second is "routines."

Several years ago, I was a television producer for a morning show, and I didn't have children at the time. However, I was assigned a segment called "First Steps," which focused on child development from birth to the age of three. Little did I know that this segment would provide me with valuable knowledge for what was to come—raising my five children.

One of the interviews that left a lasting impression on me was about the importance of routines for taking care of your baby. So, when I had my first child, I got to work and applied what I had learned about routines, I haven't stopped since then, even now that my children are almost all teenagers.

What I understood early in my journey as a mom is that routines not only help our children but also allow us to manage our own time. I won't lie to you; it's not that you'll have all the time in the world, but at least you'll have small moments to take care of yourself, and that is extremely important for your personal and emotional well-being.

If you're a first-time mom, the most important routine to establish is the one for sleep. The most common complaint among parents of infants is sleepless nights. This makes you irritable, impatient, and grumpy and can weaken your immune system which can lead to getting sick. This isn't an option with a little baby. So, without further ado, here are some tips that helped me get my five children, including my twins, to sleep through the night within just a few weeks of birth.

Babies respond to predictability

Knowing what comes next helps humans control anxiety, and this same principle applies to babies. It also helps the baby relax and understand, even at a young age, that it's time to sleep. That's why establishing a routine, especially at night, is such an important and handy tool for parents.

With all five of my children, I started establishing the routine within weeks of their birth. One thing that helped me immensely was creating a suitable sleeping environment for my children. Most important, in my opinion, is to place them in their crib and their own room after 8 weeks. If that's not an option for you, try to make sure there is a space in the room designated for them.

Try to position the crib strategically so that the baby doesn't see you coming in and out of the room. Similarly, it's important to avoid placing the crib near a window, as light can filter through blinds or curtains and disturb your baby's sleep. Once the room is set up and ready, start creating a bedtime routine.

The Routine That Worked for Me

First of all, set a specific time for the routine and always start as close to that time as possible EVERY day. Don't think that putting your baby to bed later will make them wake up later. What will happen is that they won't get enough sleep at night because babies usually wake up at the same time, whether you put them to bed at seven or midnight. In my case, my children started their routine at around seven in the evening and wouldn't wake up until seven in the morning the next day. My routine was the same with all five of them.

Adapt your routine to the schedule that works for you and be consistent with it. Every family's circumstances are different. What's important is to establish the routine and stick to it. 7:00 PM - Bath time! Prepare a warm bath and make sure the room isn't too cold or too hot.

7:15 PM - Dress them warmly! After the bath, place the baby in a comfortable spot to dry them off. Give them a gentle massage with a fragrance-free lotion to avoid allergic reactions, as many newborns have very sensitive and delicate skin. Then, dress them, comb their hair, and put a little perfume on their clothes (not on their skin) so they associate that scent with bedtime.

7:30 PM - Feeding time! If the baby is breastfeeding, try to nurse for 10 to 15 minutes on each side. If they're bottle-fed, don't exceed the amount of formula they should take based on their age and weight. It's a myth that a baby sleeps more if they eat more; they need to eat enough. Overfeeding can cause colic and even reflux. Another myth is giving them rice cereal in their formula, this won't make them sleep more but can cause constipation since rice tends to have that effect on newborns. Make sure to burp them well before putting them to bed.

8:00 PM - Time to sleep! Once their tummy is full, it's time to put them in the crib. Make sure the room has soft lighting, play gentle music, preferably the same every night so they associate it with bedtime, give them a little rocking, a goodnight kiss, and put them in their crib while they are still somewhat awake so they learn to fall asleep on their own. At first, they may cry a little; don't pick them up, comfort them in their crib by gently patting their leg so they feel that Mom is right there. You can gently sway them or use a pacifier to calm their anxiety. Gradually, the baby will get used to the routine, and by the third or fourth month, they should be sleeping through the night.

The Importance of Engaging Their Five Senses

Humans connect experiences with their senses. Haven't you ever heard a song from the past that instantly transports you back to the moment when you first heard it? The same happens with babies, and in a more intense way because each new stimulation creates a reaction in their developing brains that sticks until they are 25 years old.

With this in mind, engage their five senses in their bedtime routine. Sight, by using soft lighting in the room. Hearing, by playing gentle music, preferably the same every night so they know it's the bedtime melody. Touch, by giving them a relaxing massage. Smell, by getting them used to a scent that signals bedtime, like the fragrance on their clothes after the bath. And taste, by giving them their milk before they go to sleep.

These stimuli will help them associate the bedtime routine with sleeping. In my case, this routine worked wonders with my five children. I assure you that with perseverance and consistency in your routine, your baby will eventually sleep through the night, and you will too. Sweet dreams!


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