It’s the holy grail for most new parents — the day when their baby finally starts sleeping through the night, affording them six to eight hours of blissful, uninterrupted rest.
If you happen to have a kid that can sleep for hours on end, lucky you. But for those of you with a child that sleeps at irregular hours and often wakes up in the wee hours of the morning, disturbing your rest in the process, you might want to consider establishing a sleep routine for him/her.
The fact is, when babies have a fixed sleep routine, their body clocks are regulated and proper sleep patterns and associations are established. The result: well-rested tots who are less cranky throughout the day.
There are those who believe that sleeping through the night is a luxury afforded only to parents with older babies and toddlers after the age of one, but in reality, sleep routines can actually be introduced to children as young as six-weeks-old.
Just ask digital influencer and mum-of-one Cindy Tan whose eight-month-old daughter Chriselle is already on a well-established sleep routine. In this story, she shares more about Chriselle’s sleeping habits and how she created a schedule that the little girl now follows to get a good night’s rest.
Can you share what Chriselle’s daily sleep cycle is typically like?
Chriselle generally sleeps well during the evenings. Although she doesn’t always sleep through the night, she turns in by 10pm without fail every night.
She also naps twice a day, at 1pm and 5pm. When she was younger, she would nap more frequently and for longer periods of time, but now she only naps for an hour to an hour and a half twice a day.
Where does she usually sleep?
Ever since we brought her home from the hospital, Chriselle was trained to sleep in her own cot so she has no problems sleeping in her own room.
We have a baby monitor attached to her cot to detect any unusual movements or behaviours and I check in on her at night when she cries for milk or hugs.
Every morning at about 6am, I will bring her to my bed to co-sleep with me until 11am. For her nap times during the day, we co-sleep together on my bed, and I use my nursing pillow to prevent her from falling over.
Is it difficult to get Chriselle to fall asleep?
She’s generally a light sleeper although she’s been known to sleep through loud noise and movements at times. When I’m around, she will latch on and she tends to fall asleep pretty easily after that.
When other caretakers try to put her to sleep, rocking and patting her works best. On most days, she’s an easy baby to rock to sleep, but some days it can take up to an hour before she nods off.
Once, it took me two hours to get her to sleep at night, mainly because she had taken a longer than usual nap at 5pm. I let her expend her energy by putting her on her tummy and letting her crawl around, before latching her on and rocking her to sleep. Thankfully, that was all it took for her to drift off.
What’s Chriselle’s bedtime routine like?
I start by using a cloth and warm water to wipe down her face, body and limbs. I then apply some moisturiser on her skin before changing her into her pyjamas.
We then read a book together, followed by a bottle feed. The final step is to switch off all the lights and turn on the night light. The night light has since become the signal that tells Chriselle it’s bedtime. When the night light comes on, she naturally drifts off to sleep.
Why did you establish a bedtime routine with Chriselle?
When she was younger, it was much easier to put her to sleep as then, she would fall asleep after her night feed. However, as she grew older, getting her to settle down and ready for bed started to take much longer which is when we decided that Chriselle needed a proper bedtime routine.
Now, we start off the routine with a bedtime story read by mummy, and while I’m doing so, my husband will go and warm up her milk and get ready to pat her to sleep. After her feed, we switch off all the lights and turn on the night light. We place the night light above her wardrobe and whenever we turn it on, she’ll look at it intently and not fuss when we leave her room. When we check back less than 15 minutes later, we often find her fast asleep.
Do you have any tips for mums who have trouble getting their little ones to fall asleep?
Set a routine for both naps and bedtime. I find that doing so helps the little ones to stick to a scheduled sleep pattern. Having a warm bath or wipe down beforehand also helps to cool the body down, making it more comfortable for them to fall asleep.
Soothing music, scents, a quiet room and the right temperature all play a part in creating a conducive sleeping environment. However, every baby is different. Some trial and error may be needed to figure out what works best for your child when it comes to making them fall asleep.