Introducing good sleep habits from day one

Bedtime ritual and sleepiness associations

It is suggested to quickly establish a bedtime routine. It should be stable, repetitive and predictable. That way, it becomes reassuring and gives your child warning signs as bedtime approaches. Already, after the evening meal, the atmosphere should be calm and you should avoid over- stimulation and excitement... Sometimes even tickling, dancing, watching television and listening to loud music could increase alertness and affect sleep.

A bath should always precede bedtime

The baths role is to help reduce the core body temperature, which naturally promotes and facilitates sleep. In addition, taking a bath provides a break from the daily activities and predisposes children to go to bed. Soon, your baby will know it is time to go to sleep and their whole body will feel it. It is true that sometimes it stimulates some children. A quiet time after bath to rock them, sing lullabies, or read a little book should give the expected results. A massage may also be effective! If giving a bath every night is difficult for you, a quick wash surrounded by calm can also be effective.

Putting baby to sleep while they are awake

It is advisable to put your baby in their bed while they are awake. If desired, remain beside them, rock them in their bed, hum... until they calmly fall asleep. You can also give them a blanket that smells like mom or a soft toy they can fondle at will.

Avoid drinking just before bedtime

Drinks should not coincide with daytime naps and bedtime. Otherwise, an addiction could lead to sleep problems in the longer run. To promote the consolidation of their biological clock, it is also important to plan daily schedules. Parents should set a nap schedule alternating with feedings and daily activities.

Prevent problems...

The more your baby sleeps alone under the same conditions, the more they will develop good sleep habits that will lead to sleeping through the night more quickly. It is especially true if these conditions are not dependent on an act of the parent.

It is not unusual for a baby to wake up at night. However, they should not require your intervention to go back to sleep, they should be able to find a way to fall asleep on their own. That is why your interventions should be brief and silent.

Avoid rushing into the room every time he or she cries and give them a chance to fall back asleep alone.

Of course, not all babies develop problems associated with falling asleep ... but if we develop good habits early, fewer problems are likely to occur. All this should ensure very peaceful nights!

Évelyne Martello

After graduating from Université de Montreal (UdeM) in 1983, Evelyne Martello worked as a nurse for 26 years at CHU Sainte-Justine. From neonatology to working in the delivery rooms, she has served for 15 years as a clinician in the development centre. For the last 11 years, Martello has worked as a sleep specialist; helping many parents and health professionals. Her expertise led her to the highly specialized Des Prairies Hospital Centre. She has presented at numerous conferences to health specialists in local community centres and in kindergarten classes for preschoolers. She has also contributed to several TV and radio shows as a guest specialist speaking about sleeping disorders. In 2007, she published a book, “Enfin je dors... et mes parents”, which sold over 10,000 copies and has recently been translated in Spanish. Martello now offers private services for families in need of better sleep.   Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems: New, Revised, and Expanded Edition Richard Ferber Fireside; REV edition (2006) ISBN: 978-0743201636 $12.99

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