When it comes to discussing night time routines and how they should go, I am fairly relaxed as to what your night time routine should be and the order it runs in. Whatever works for your family and your lifestyle. The important point is that it is consistent. By this I mean that you try to do the same routine every night and similar for day sleeps too. Here are some tips for teaching your baby healthy sleep habits. If I could create your routine for you it would look like this. Dinner, bath, pj’s, wind down time, books, bottle, cuddles and bed.
Often I am asked the following question. Is it okay for my baby/toddler to have their bottle in their cot or not? Should it be done elsewhere like in the lounge? My answer to that is simply it depends. It depends how sleepy your baby/toddler is getting on the bottle. Of course it is part of their wind down routine and helps them to relax. The reason being because of the sucking. Sucking releases a sleep hormone in their brain. The same goes for nipples, dummies and fingers too! Having a bottle as part of their relaxing routine is fine but how sleepy is your baby?
If they are sucking as they fall asleep then sucking will quickly become a cue to sleep. Which is fine at 7pm but not so fine or easy at 11pm, 1am, 2am, 4am and 5am. So my rule is: Sleepy but Awake. Your baby can suck to get sleepy but make sure they are still awake when they finish the bottle. They need to fall asleep in their cot without sucking anything. You can use the bottle to help your baby relax, but make sure they are still awake as you take it away or they throw it out of the cot! Sleepy but still awake is your aim. If they are insistent on falling asleep on the bottle while sucking then yes, you need to move it too the lounge room. Turn the tv off, relax, have a cuddle and do their bottle there. Then move down to their bedroom to go to sleep. This way they will not wake looking for it during the night and needing that sucking cue to help them go back to sleep.
If your baby has that sucking to sleep habit down pat? Don’t despair you can change that too and give your baby other sleep cues to help them to relax and go to sleep. Sleep is a gift for both you and your baby so take note of those sleeping cues that your baby is reliant on.