It’s lovely when Dad is as keen to get involved with baby’s bedtime as Mum – but if you’re not prepared to show a united front it could lead to problems.
The most important thing to help your child settle, is a good toddler bedtime routine. Babies and toddlers who have a consistent bedtime routine learn how to settle much more easily than those who regularly have a disrupted bedtime.
Early on, you and your partner need to discuss bedtime and the kind of routine you want to develop together for your baby. If one parent wants to rock baby to sleep while the other prefers the Cry It Out method, you’re going to find bedtime is stressful for both of you and your baby.
Sit down and talk seriously about bedtime. Be open and honest about how you feel and if you do have very different views on bedtime routines, see if you can find a compromise that you will both be comfortable with. This is important because if you impose a routine you’re not united on, there is bound to be some stress or anxiety that your baby will pick up on, and that alone could disrupt bedtime.
Together, decide on a regular time for bed and a general routine, which might include bath time, a feed, a story or song and a cuddle before bed. Of course you can vary it slightly – for example, Dad might want to read two books or make up a story, while Mum sings a song or two – but generally you need to develop a routine you are both prepared to stick to.
As well as bedtime, agree on how you are going to deal with night time tears. Again, if one parent wants to rock the baby and the other would rather let them self-soothe, you’re going to leave baby very confused. Negotiation is key here – but do bear in mind that if one parent is more likely to deal with night waking than the other, it might be worth keeping them happy!
Finally, make sure that you both understand the signs that your baby is getting tired, and are both aware of safety guidelines such as letting baby sleep on their back rather than their stomach, so baby is safe at all times.