Top 5 steps for a calming baby bedtime routine

We all know the theory and the importance of routines for babies and children-right? Routines are familiar and as such are comforting and reassuring and enable baby to feel secure and calm. They also help us parents to be calm too! But, as a new parent, it is one of the hardest things to crack. Having read endless pregnancy guides and birth stories and subsequently having two emergency C-sections and failed breast feeding attempts, I had pretty much had my fill of advice, certainly in the form of parenting books. That said, I was determined to crack the 'sleep' thing.

I was hungry for advice and the books gave it but I paid particular heed to the advice offered by family and friends who seemed to have it under control. So here is my summary of the essential ingredients for a successful baby bedtime routine and the benefits of establishing it.

Top 5 reasons why you have to crack the baby bedtime routine...

1. Defined 'me time' when baby sleeps - a chance to pamper and enjoy adult time

2. More sleep at night which means a nicer mummy/ partner / person all round

3. More bonding time with your child - time to have special one to one time and reflect on the day without distractions

4. Happier baby (see point 2)

5. Instil the love of reading with your child.

My top 5 essential steps for a baby bedtime routine....

1. Bathtime - Essential for cleanliness and end of day winding down. Water squirting, measuring and pouring can be great fun, but is also very calming and therapeutic.

2. Massage - After the Bath, towel dry and moisturise with baby lotion or massage with with oil before changing into sleepsuits or pyjamas.

3. Pyjama Time - soft, cuddly, cotton sleepwear helps aide a good night's sleep

4. Bedtime story - quiet time and the opportunity to instill reading as a wind down. My teenagers still read to this day at bedtime.

5. Last Bedtime drink (bottle / breast / cup)

A bedtime routine marks the transition from day and playtime to bedtime and sleep and to my mind is the threshold between day and night! After which there is no going back (until the next day at least) no going outside, no meals, no children's television or games, no raised voices ...... it is quiet time. Don't get me wrong, it is by no means easy for every family and baby. My first baby took to the routine straight away like clockwork after a week but my second took a good month.

All i can say is keep it simple. Persist. And you won't regret it. Promise.