The three Bs of baby bed time

The three Bs of baby bed time

For many parents bedtime is often the most intense time of the day. Many experts advise getting children into a predictable bedtime routine so that little ones gradually wind down for bed and know that sleep time is approaching.

When I had my first child I initially had no clue about routines – reading books about them is one thing but actually instituting them is quite another. As the evening approached I would start to think about how long it would take to get my son to sleep, how many times he would wake that night and how much sleep would I manage to get. I’d seen friends with babies put them to bed quite painlessly at about 7pm so after a couple of weeks I decided to try the same.

Let’s just say the process wasn’t quite so painless. I’d read about taking the baby somewhere quiet and dimly lit so up we went to the bedroom and so we stayed for three hours! No amount of feeding and winding and waiting until he was drowsy/sleeping before putting him down would get my son to sleep in his moses basket.

The three Bs of baby bed time

After a few nights of this (and feeling like a failure – why couldn’t I get my son to sleep in the evening) I asked a friend how she did it. And she shared these little words of wisdom – Bath, Boob/Bottle and Bed. The three Bs of baby bed time.

I decided to leave it a few weeks before trying to introduce our new bedtime routine and at seven weeks old it worked a treat. And from that day we haven’t looked back, bed time (baring the craziness that bath time seems to breed) is fairly smooth. When my son was a little older we added our own fourth B – Book.

And it wasn’t a fluke – we did the same routine with our second child and again from around six weeks we introduced the three Bs of baby bed time and he soon got into a straight forward bed time pattern. Though this time round we were a little more relaxed and let him sleep in his moses basket in the living room until it was lights out for us too, rather than racing upstairs to check on him every 10 minutes.

We’ve since added a fifth B, BlindSides, which can help encourage children to go to sleep when it’s still light outside in the evenings and stop them from waking prematurely when the sun rises early during the summer. They do this by blocking out the light that still manages to creep in down the sides of blackout blinds.

Of course there are many other ways to ease bedtime struggles such as quiet stories for an hour before bath time. We’d love to hear what works for you.