Newborn babies have the impressive ability to sleep just about anywhere at anytime. But that all begins to change right around the time they gain mobility. With the great big world to explore, it's as if sleep has lost its appeal—which can mean you suddenly have a bigger bedtime battle to wage.
Don't worry, though: It's completely possible to skip the battle and transition smoothly to bedtime. It all starts by acknowledging (as hard as that can be) that your little baby isn't so little. But by graduating from a traditional wearable blanket to the ingenious new On the Move Sleep Bag from Ergobaby with optional legs for loungewear, you can give them the independence they crave—while developing a peaceful bedtime routine that calmly transitions them to dreamland.
Here are more ways to make winding down a special (and stress-free) experience for both of you:
1. Start winding down early
Once little ones are on the move, there really is no slowing them down. That means going from 60 to zero when the clock says it's bedtime is just setting you up for a struggle. Before even signaling to them that it's "bedtime," it can help to turn off any screens, put on calming music and focus your attention on them.
"Before bed is a great opportunity to slow down, spend some time with our littles and give them our undivided attention," says Motherly's Sleep Expert, Rachel Gorton, a certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Specialist.
This could even include a post-dinner stroll around the neighborhood: Ergobaby's On the Move Sleep Bag brilliantly features openings to accommodate the straps in a stroller or car seat—so you can go ahead and dress baby for bed at the start of the wind-down process.
2. Encourage the use of a healthy sleep prop
Back in the days when baby didn't need much additional help falling asleep, it was probably common to feed them until they drifted off. As that begins to change, Gorton says it's key to support your child in finding a new sleep prop—or something that sends them cozy-time cues. "Instead of that prop being you, I suggest encouraging a lovey or using a sleep sack to provide comfort and security throughout the night."
With Ergobaby's new On the Move Sleep Bag, it's easier than ever to help your mobile child still experience the comfort of a wearable blanket: Just start by adjusting the snaps to open the leg holes so your child can freely move about. Then, before moving them into bed, simply fold and snap the leg holes inside to transition it into a comfortable, enclosed sleep bag.
3. Keep connection at the center of the process
As you transition into the real bedtime routine—including taking a bath, dressing them in pajamas and a walking-friendly sleep bag, and reading a book—make sure there is enough time to take your time. Those perceptive little kiddos can pick up on it if you're feeling anxious about the ticking clock, after all. By instead framing it in your own mind as a precious opportunity for connection, the sense of serenity will positively affect them, too.
"Children crave one-on-one connection with us and with the hustle and bustle during the day, it can be a challenge to find those moments of pause with our children," Gorton says. "When our children feel nurtured and loved, it also helps prepare their minds and bodies for rest."
4. Respond to your child’s favorite rituals
Tiring as it may feel to read the same book five times a night, every night, Gorton says that's actually a positive sign that your child is developing his or her own bedtime routines.
"This is why your child wants to hear that same song over and over or read Goodnight Moon for the 50th time in a row," Gorton says. By encouraging them to make their own choices when it comes to bedtime stories or by empowering them to get out their pajamas and sleep bag, you're giving your growing baby a much-desired sense of independence—with the ultimate goal of a peaceful bedtime transition.
5. Follow the same flow
By creating predictability with everything from the time of bedtime to the flow of winding down, you are sending your baby important cues about what to expect. "Children, especially toddlers, thrive when they are able to predict what is coming next through the repetition of routine each night," Gorton says. "This consistency lets your child know what is coming and helps her to transition more easily from day to night."
From reading books to singing songs and dressing for bed in Ergobaby's On the Move Sleep Bag, you are developing a sweet routine that leads to sweet dreams.
This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.