8 TIPS FOR A WIN­TER BED­TIME ROU­TINE

Your Baby & Toddler - - Features -

1 STICK TO A ROU­TINE: Don’t change your bed­time just be­cause it’s win­ter, says sleep ex­pert Petro Thamm. “Win­ter’s ac­tu­ally nice be­cause it’s darker ear­lier, so ba­bies tend to sleep bet­ter.”

2 FUEL THE TANK BE­FORE BED­TIME:

Ba­bies have been shown to sleep for longer stretches at night if you feed shortly be­fore bed.

3 AVOID TEM­PER­A­TURE CHANGES: Try to keep the tem­per­a­ture of baby’s sleep­ing and bathing area at a con­stant 20-21° C, rather than us­ing blan­kets or over­dress­ing your child, says Thamm. A swad­dle bath – where you wrap baby in a warm, thin towel and place him in the wa­ter (un­wrap­ping only the parts you need to wash at a time) can also help a baby stay warm.

4 NOT SURE IF YOUR BABY IS TOO WARM OR TOO COLD? Do a skin check – your child’s skin should be com­fort­able to the touch and even a lit­tle cool (but not cold).

5 TURN OFF LIGHTS: “Make sure the room your baby sleeps in is dark be­cause that’s what makes the mela­tonin cy­cle,” says Dr Dys­sell.

6 WIND IT DOWN: Avoid over­stim­u­la­tion in the cou­ple of hours be­fore sleep, says Dr Dys­sell, and re­mem­ber that the rec­om­mended amount of screen time (phones, ipads, tele­vi­sions or lap­tops) for those younger than three years is none at all.

7 BE RE­SPON­SIVE BUT BOR­ING: Keep night­time in­ter­ac­tions with baby calm and low key; avoid mak­ing noise, mov­ing your baby around or mak­ing too much con­tact. Ba­bies are sleep talk­ers and often self soothe, so par­ents shouldn’t re­spond to ev­ery lit­tle noise. How­ever, if your baby wakes fully and needs some­thing in the first six months of life, at­tend to his needs – sleep train­ing (the process of leav­ing ba­bies alone to “cry it out” and self soothe) can be harm­ful in ba­bies younger than six months old, ac­cord­ing to Dr Dys­sell.

8 CON­SIDER A HUMIDIFIER: Thamm says hu­mid­i­fiers can help fight off win­ter in­fec­tions by keep­ing a child’s air­ways moist – par­tic­u­larly in the north of the coun­try where the air is drier. But clean it ev­ery sec­ond day – oth­er­wise, you could ac­tu­ally make your baby sick.

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