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Sleep routines

Words: Ntokozo Maseko

A routine is a set of actions we do regularly. A routine can be comforting because we know what to expect - and that's why a sleep routine is important. It will give both you and your baby a set of actions to follow every night. As a result, you will find it easier to get your baby to sleep. And that will be good for both of you, says Jacqui Flint of Baby Love, a company which specialises in sleep routine workshops for moms-to-be and parents of babies two and younger.

Sleep routines can start from the day you bring your baby home from the hospital, she says. Once you've established one that works for both of you, the key is to keep to the same routine every night, unless of course the baby is ill.

Jacqui's tips on how to get a sleep routine started:

Baby LoveRock, pat or push your baby around the block in order to get them to fall asleep.
Baby LoveLet your baby fall asleep on the breast or the bottle.
Baby LovePut a baby to bed late at night hoping they'll be tired and will then sleep through the night. The baby will be hyper-alert and will battle to fall asleep.
Baby LoveForce a baby to stay awake for whatever reason. It is very important they get the right amount ofsleep for their age.

Baby LovePut your baby down awake, so they can learn how to fall asleep by themselves.
Baby LoveAllow them to niggle and cry for a short while so they can learn how to soothe themselves.
Baby LoveEncourage full feeds.
Baby LoveLearn the difference in your baby's cries so you can meet their needs - that is, knowing when they want to sleep, are hungry or just want to play.
Baby LoveHave some quiet time before your baby goes to bed, to give them the chance to relax mentally and physically.

Credit: Bona/Ntokozo Maseko
Published: May 2009