Right, stop the press. Prepare yourselves readers, I have an astonishing announcement to make. It may surprise you all to know that I am not a perfect parent.  I know, I had you fooled didn’t I!

I can make this declaration safe in the knowledge that I have got many things wrong in my parenting journey, but rest assured my children have survived and come out the other side relatively unscathed but on a daily basis it does present some challenges.

One of my most recent and ongoing failings is the bedtime routine. I can’t take all the blame, as Dad has his fair share of imperfections and between us we’ve got it horribly wrong.  It came as no surprise to me to read Family Friendly Working‘s post where 33% of parents find bedtime the most stressful of the daily routine.

Now faced with a brand new bed that’s unlikely to see any action this side of 2020, as it’s frequented by small people EVERY NIGHT let me breakdown for you where we went wrong so you can avoid the mistakes we made and stop this being the most daunting parenting task.

1. Don’t Feed A Baby To Sleep

Granted this is much easier said than done, but from about 6 weeks old don’t let your baby fall asleep at the boob or on the bottle. Stop feeding just before they look like they are drifting off so they learn to go to sleep without an aid.

2. Don’t Co-Sleep

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know I don’t have an issue with co-sleeping in the slightest. If this is your parenting choice, great but bare in mind the wider impact on your lifestyle and that once you go down this path, changing your mind is pretty tough and new habits are hard to form.

We tried to encourage Toddler that she would love going into her new bed in her own room when Baby arrived.  It was a losing battle from the start!

3. Once in their own room, leave them there!

The earliest any baby should be migrated into their own room is at 6 months old. Once they make that move, don’t go all soft (like Daddy did) and move them back again.

4. Don’t Let Them Fall Asleep Anywhere But Their Bed/Cot

This can only go horribly wrong. Letting them fall asleep on the sofa and then migrating them to their bed firstly is a logistical nightmare. Who wouldn’t wake up being carried up the stairs unless they had had a few too many beers (which I’m not recommending by the way).

Secondly it only causes confusion and anxiety when said little person wakes up somewhere different than they fell asleep.

5. Don’t Overstimulate

When bedtime is on the horizon, start to dim the lights, turn of the TV and any other gadgets and even reduce the amount of eye contact and conversation with your little one. For the summer months, blackout blinds are a god send.

Too much stimulation and light can delay the act of going to sleep for quite sometime.

6. Don’t Let Them Get Too Tired

This is a recipe for complete meltdown. Start the bedtime routine in plenty of time so they are ready for sleeping when it’s finished. Leaving things to late can turn bedtime into battle time, which quickly becomes unpleasant for everyone.

7. Don’t Change The Goal Posts

Keep your routine the same each night, especially if you’re trying to break bad habits. Make a plan and follow the routine every night. Everyone will soon get in the swing of things and your little one will soon start to recognise the triggers that’s it’s time for bed and will be tucked up at a reasonable hour before you know it.  It might not feel like it on night one, but by the end of the week you’ll have made great progress.

I’m sharing these tips with you as a proverb I heard many years ago said ‘A wise man learns from his own mistakes, but a wiser one learns from someone else’s.’ In this case I hope you’ll be the wiser parent.

Recognise anything in this post? I’d love you to share it with your followers and help all those wiser parents out there.

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  1. I’m sorry, but it’s perfectly fine to let a baby fall asleep nursing. It’s a comfort and natural place for a baby to safely fall asleep. Then the parents can set the baby in the crib or sleep area. Please don’t spread such misinformation.

    • It’s a technique that health professionals advise, either is fine. I do let my children nurse to sleep which is my personal choice but it does also present difficulties for parents. There are 2 sides to every coin

  2. Great tips, fallen in to a few myself with Boo, we fed to sleep until about 10 months though in the early days it was difficult not too as she was so unsettled with her silent reflux the only comfort she got was breastfeeding (whilst in a really awkward upright position).
    Lucky once we moved Boo in to her own room, at 7 months we haven’t moved her back, though we have had a couple of nights when she was ill that I moved in to her room as I thought that would be less of a change for her.
    Blackout blinds – I agree, total godsend!
    Love that quote ‘A wise man learns from his own mistakes, but a wiser one learns from someone else’s.’ !!

  3. What a great post. We have been really lucky with M as she has always been a really good sleeper. We moved her into her own room and cot at 9 weeks. It was the best decision we ever made! 🙂 #binkylinky

  4. I don’t really agree about co-sleeping, feeding to sleep or the eye contact thing, but in general agree with the over stimulation. I feel that saying that parents must not do them is really quite wrong, or calling them mistakes. For us they were 100% RIGHT. So perhaps the title is misleading?!

    As a rule I really try hard not to leave negative comments on blogs I read (and like) but I hope you’ll take this in the spirit it’s meant, but its really quite wrong to say 7 things a parent must not do at bedtime, or to label anyone who does those things as having made a mistake, just because they weren’t right for you. We’ve all made mistakes and none of us are perfect, but none of those things were my mistake, they were great successes for our family. Hope you can see what I’m trying to say!
    Charlie recently posted…The Bad DaysMy Profile

  5. I think one thing missing from this list is taking into consideration your child: I had a needy, clingy baby who would have breastfed all day. I didn’t ‘make’ him like that, he was just born like that. At 2 days old he’d only sleep on my chest, no where else.

    We adapted, and co slept. He bf on demand and we all got sleep and he became contented.

    Age 7 he’s a go get ’em boy who loves footie, going to school and lots of love for me still.

    There aren’t ‘rules’ for parenting, you just need to do what you need to to get through the challenging early days!

  6. I know where you are coming from, but no matter how much we give suggestions to you new parents they will do it the way it works for them and it will never change.

    But yes bedtime is one of the most stressful things in this house espically with my 3 yr old sometimes with her not talking yet or minimal amount of talking she gets very tired very quickly and then starts screaming so takes us ages to settle her to the point i walk out on her leaving her in the middle of the floor screaming to give myself a couple of minutes to have a breather then i go in and cuddle her and lie with her for a couple of minutes until she has calmed down, then it is like nothing has happened she is my smily happy child again who gives me her summer squeesh and 2 kiss before i leave.

  7. I agree with several of the things you have said, blackout blinds are fab. I breastfed our second child to sleep and although it worked well, it meant I spent 2 hours on the sofa each night as she would feed, nod off, stir , feed then be down for good and i’d take her up. I will definitely try to avoid that this time when baby 3 comes as sometimes i had to put her down to see to my other child and start again. #binkylinky
    Loving life with little ones recently posted…Comforters- getting too old?My Profile

  8. I agree with many of the above, thanks for sharing these! I’m due with baby #2 soon and I’ve forgotten so many things, keen not to make the same mistakes but we live and learn what’s right for our babies, don’t we 🙂

  9. Letting a baby sleep in their own bed, in their own room, before six months old is fine! From day one it is fine. As is letting them fall asleep while nurse/bottle feeding–as long as you are the one managing the bottle. No doctor I’ve ever had (with six kids) has ever said otherwise!

    • Thanks for your comment. In the UK it is strongly recommended by health professionals to have a baby sleep in a room with it’s parents until it’s 6 months old, but I know of plenty of parents who have a baby sleep separately. It’s not the medical issue I was raising. The point of the article is that it strikes me some days that my life is difficult because I do all these things. Some parents set different boundaries to me and I wonder if it makes their life a little easier. There is no harm in encouraging a baby to go to sleep without being nursed. What strikes me as the most interesting point about this article is that parenting techniques can create divides amongst parents, when the only thing that really matters is that their children are loved and raised in a secure and supportive environment, the finer details of how we achieve that almost don’t matter and doesn’t make one parent better than another

  10. Interesting post! Gosh, before I had a kid I’d never have thought I’d discuss sleeping so much – and while I thought I had it nailed, once he moved to a big boy bed, is rarely sleeps through the night anymore *sobs* but consistency really is the key though!

    Thanks for linking up lovely 🙂 #TheList xxx
    Hannah Mums’ Days recently posted…Home Office IdeasMy Profile


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