Getting your baby to fall into an easy and effective bedtime routine can be really challenging and takes patience, repetition and determination. One of the toughest parts of establishing a bedtime routine with your baby is that just when you think you have it down to a fine art, the seasons change, the temperatures rise and the days get longer, which can often take you right back to square one. Suddenly the baby who is normally fast asleep by 7 pm is struggling to settle, waking more regularly during the night or becoming flustered or irritable instead of calm and content.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. The arrival of the summer season doesn’t have to mean sleep deprivation and regular wakes ups. Here are some tips to ensure your baby’s bedtime routine is just as effective in the warmer summer months.
- Dress your baby lightly
It’s important to remember that babies don’t have the ability to regulate their temperature like we do; so it’s important to ensure that they don’t overheat. Whilst some babies can sleep comfortably in just a diaper, a light sleep suit or thin sleeping bag is normally preferable when the temperature gets warmer outside, still offering reassurance and support whilst preventing them from startling themselves awake. Some baby sleeping bags offer guidance about the appropriate amount of layers for your baby to wear depending on the nursery temperature, and a room thermometer can be a handy way to ensure their room isn’t getting too hot.
- Blackout blinds
When the nights are longer and lighter, the bright sun streaming through the window can not only stimulate their senses but prevent your baby from differentiating between night and day. The mental cues they will be familiar with, such as snuggling up in a blanket or seeing a dark sky out of their window will have suddenly changed and a new routine can take a bit of time for them to adapt to. In order to prevent the sun’s rays from keeping your baby awake, you may want to invest in a black-out blind, particularly if your window dressings are particularly light or thin. Blocking out the light will create the illusion of a dark night and help them more easily drift off to sleep.
- Open the windows once the outside temperature drops
Whilst it may be tempting to throw open the windows and let some air into the house during a hot day, this can actually be counterproductive. If you don’t have air-con, it is recommended to keep your windows and blinds shut during the day, and wait until the outside temperature begins to drop before letting the air inside. Opening the windows too early can actually let warm air in and make your house hotter, which can lead to an unpleasant sticky and stressful bedtime.
- Offer extra feeds when it’s hot
You may find that your baby asks or shows cues for more feeds in the summer months, and that is perfectly normal. In the same way that we tend to drink more when we are feeling hot, babies may want the extra hydration and comfort of additional feeds. If holding your baby whilst breastfeeding is leaving you both feeling hot and sweaty, consider placing a light muslin square across your lap before you feed.
- Consider delaying bedtime
Whilst consistent bedtime routines can be really valuable, sometimes a bit of flexibility is required. If you find that the temperature outside isn’t dropping until later and as such you’re spending hours battling in a boiling hot nursery trying to get your baby to sleep; it may be easier for all of you to make some adjustments. You may want to consider taking your baby up an hour later than usual if they are able to cope with it. You can always gradually adjust slowly back to their usual bedtime as you approach the Fall.
What other tips do you have to help your baby sleep in summer?