Skip to main content
7 Oct 2023 | 9:09 | [email protected]

 

Building Strong Bonds at Bedtime and Beyond

 

Hi! I’m Lucy, Dorset based Holistic Sleep Coach, and founder of Snug Sleep. I help parents build secure attachments, and empower them with gentle, responsive and age appropriate guidance to improve sleep for everyone in the house!

How do I do it? Well, you no doubt know that infant sleep is complicated. There are so many variables, and that’s why it’s essential to look at the whole picture and find the root cause.

A major consideration here is that babies and young children need to feel safe in order to sleep. So let’s talk though how you can support your baby in feeling safe and develop a secure bond, with just a few easy steps.

The bedtime routine is a brilliant opportunity to strengthen your bond with your baby, creating a foundation of trust, love, and security that can last a lifetime. It’s a crucial part of your little one’s day, with the hustle and bustle of the outside world fading away, and the chance to really connect with you before settling down to sleep. All you need is 3-5 steps. They don’t need to be at the same time each night, but try to keep each element consistently in the same order if you can to create some predictability. See the bedtime routine as an opportunity to pass on some of your calmness to your baby.

You could include:

  • A bath

  • A feed

  • Baby massage

  • A story

  • Cuddles

  • A special blanket or comforter (for 12 months+)

  • A consistent sleep phrase or lullaby. Something along the lines of ‘Goodnight little one. I love you.’

The Importance of Bonding at Bedtime

Sense of Security

That bedtime routine I was just talking about? It provides a sense of security and predictability for babies. They learn that no matter what happens during the day, there's always this comforting, loving routine waiting for them at night. Similarly, responding to your baby calmly and consistently reassures them that they’re safe and loved.

Healthy Attachment

We know that secure attachment in infancy supports healthier relationships later in life. Please know it’s absolutely ok to respond to your baby’s needs, and provide comfort. Trust your instincts here, and don’t worry about creating any bad habits.

Regulating emotions

By providing a soothing bedtime routine, you can help your baby regulate their emotions. The comforting touch, gentle rocking, reassuring eye contact, or soft lullabies and words from you all contribute to calming your little one. Keep your voice low and gentle, and stay on top of your own emotions first and foremost.

One of my biggest tips is to focus on calm before sleep, always.

Some practical tips for building and nurturing your bond:

Consistency is key

Babies thrive on predictability, so having a set routine each night helps them understand what to expect.

Create a relaxing environment

Make the bedroom a calm and soothing place. Dim the lights before the bedtime routine starts, keep the noise level down, and make sure the temperature is comfortable.

Physical contact

Physical touch is crucial for bonding. Gently stroke your baby's hair, hold their hand, or give them a warm, loving hug. Skin-to-skin contact strengthens the parent-child bond, particularly for newborns.

Limit screen time

Avoid screens and bright lights in the lead up to bedtime. The blue light from screens can interfere with the production of melatonin, the hormone that supports sleep.

Be present

During the bedtime routine put distractions like your phone to one side, and focus entirely on your baby. This undivided attention sends a powerful message of love and importance. Little ones can also sense when we’re rushing, so take your time and avoid speeding ahead - it can often be counterproductive..!

Remember, focus on calm before sleep. Create a predictable little bedtime routine filled with moments of connection to you. Trust your instincts. Know that crying is communication. Meet their needs, and prove to them that they can rely on you, by consistently responding with they communicate.

Come and find me on instagram where I’ve created a safe place for new parents, overwhelmed parents, ‘just about coping’ parents and all of the rest of you to come together, share your experiences and ask for help without hesitation.

At the end of the day, it’s all about helping families find what works for them.

If you feel like you need extra support with creating that special attachment with your little one, please reach out to DorPIP by filling in their request for services form here: https://www.dorpip.org.uk/referrals

www.instagram.com/snugsleepcoach

www.snugsleepcoach.com