Why is it important to have a sleep ritual and teach my baby the difference between day and night?
Sleep is essential to your baby’s health and growth—even their ability to think and learn. While baby is sleeping, experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) say these are just a few of the many amazing things their body is busy doing:
• Gaining weight
• Building immunity
• Releasing stress
• Boosting brain development
• Priming learning and thinking
• Enhancing self-control
• Processing language
Wow! If your body was busy doing that all night, you’d likely wake up tired each morning!
Sleep routines help babies transition easier to sleep. Help baby gain these important benefits by letting baby know it’s either nap time or bed time. The predictable pattern you provide before these important sleep times helps your baby organize their time while they’re awake in a way that is comforting and reassuring, giving them confidence in your care and strengthening your bond.
Activities that can help baby understand that it’s time to sleep include:
• Gently rocking with baby, gazing into their eyes and holding that loving eye contact
• Snuggling skin-to-skin with baby while singing soft lullabies or humming sweet melodies
• Tenderly patting baby’s back or tummy while making quiet, shushing sounds
• Gently laying baby on their back in a safe infant bed while baby is drifting to sleep
• Calm baby’s environment 30 minutes or so before bed by dimming lights, turning TV off and playing calm music
Allowing baby to grow drowsy and then fall asleep on their own will help them go to sleep on their own as they grow older.