8 TIPS FOR A WINTER BEDTIME ROUTINE
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.