Bath & Bed, Rythms & Routines
Your baby is becoming more mobile and active so he may start resisting getting into a routine—especially a bedtime routine... It may become harder to keep your baby interested in the quiet routine of bedtime that you have been using until now and both of you may become frustrated about what to do and how to get your baby to learn how to settle into bed and quietly.
At 12 months babies are able to understand simple instructions and you could use tidy up time as a part of your routine so that he begins to learn and understand that play time has finished and it is time to start the bath and bedtime routine. Don't expect too much too soon or you may become disheartened and frustrated! Give your baby time to adjust to the changes in the routine – make it fun and quiet and help him to learn that there is a time for playtime and a time for getting ready for bedtime.
At this age your baby will enjoy pushing, throwing and knocking over games which you don’t want to employ as part of tidy up time. Placing toys away (as neatly as baby can) and explaining that he’ll be able to find them easier the next day may help baby to understand that there is always more play tomorrow. You could always discuss a bedtime story and let him choose the book as you get ready so he can see a reward for his cleaning up activities.
Around this time, baby may start to resist daytime naps, though he is still likely to need them, and if he doesn’t nap he can get overtired and fussy at bedtime.
A warm relaxing bath can really help a baby to become more relaxed and calm and ready for sleep. Make sure it doesn't last too long and turn in to a bubble fight! The Earth Friendly Baby Calming Lavender Shampoo and Bodywash with it’s soothing aroma can help relax your little one even more.
Once baby is out of the bath move to his bedroom to dry and dress him. Try not to go back out of his room for goodnight kisses or he may not want to go back into his room again. There are ways you can keep your baby occupied so that he does not think about going out of his room.
Massage is wonderful way to really bond and relax with your baby. Massage has many health benefits for baby and at night focus on soothing calm strokes to get baby relaxed and sleepy. Making sure that you are relaxed and unrushed before you start is helpful as otherwise, your baby will pick up on your being tense or rushed and could have the opposite effect to the one you were hoping for! Read our article here on baby massage and try Earth Friendly Baby Calming Lavender Body Lotion for an extra special treat.
Taking time to ensure that the environment of the room where your baby is sleeping is conducive to a good nights’ sleep is important. Check that the temperature is not too hot or cold (around 16-18 degrees is ideal). Having some soft music or 'white noise' playing seems to help some babies. Make sure that the room is not too light, you may need some lined curtains or a black out blind if street lighting is a problem or during the summer months. Be sure there are no blankets or pillows in the crib with your baby to ensure it is safe.
Finish with story time or singing, a last feed and put down to sleep.
Change of routine will always be disruptive and may take a few nights for your baby to adjust – be patient and consistent. Be mindful of the importance of his daytime naps to prevent overtiredness later in the day. Keep the most energetic types of play to earlier in the day and maybe a play at the park/in the fresh air before winding down toward bedtime. Your baby will soon get used to investigating the world and remembering to sleep at night.