Do you currently have a bedtime routine for your baby? If not, I’m here to help you set one up! If you do have one, read below to see what you miiiiight be missing!
When I work with families who are wanting better sleep (specifically night time sleep) I will always ask what their bedtime routine looks like. Usually, if there is night waking or trouble sleeping at night it can be circled back to bedtime routine.
Below I’m sharing bedtime routines for newborns and babies, give them a try tonight!
Bedtime Routine for 0-12 months old
Did you know you can start a bedtime routine from day 1 of baby’s birth? When I had my first I did’t really know what to do with baby, especially in the Newborn fog. Now that I’ve had our second little one and I’m a sleep consultant I feel confident with her bedtime routine and we’re only going into week 3!
Let me be clear — starting a bedtime routine is just a prompt for newborns. Newborns won’t know the difference between day and night until 8-9 weeks. Starting with small steps (like a routine) can help cue babies. Bedtime routines for newborns is exactly the same for babies, minus the part that you will be helping newborns fall asleep.
For babies 4 months+ we shift the expectation that the need you to help them fall asleep, they can put themselves to sleep independently within 15 minutes. The purpose of the bedtime routine is not to get them to go to sleep, but it’s just to get them ready to get into their bed to go to sleep.
If your bedtime routine is more than 30 minutes, your little one could become overtired and frustrated with the process.
Here is an example of an ideal bedtime routine for baby
- Diaper change
- In crib
So, how to start fresh with a bedtime routine for your baby?
STEP 1: Bath time
A quick face wash on non-bath nights will work to give the cue that bedtime is starting. This is a time for fun!
STEP 2: Feeding
After bath, head to their room and feed them right away. Enjoy this time together! They will be awake and alert from their bath, which is also a great so that they do not fall asleep while feeding (for 4+months old).
STEP 3: Jammies
Once the feed is over, apply lotion and put on jammies. This is also a great time to start brushing your little ones teeth when they start to pop up!
STEP 4: Read a book
Newborns will look at pictures Babies will take in all the colors on the pages, enjoy a few moments of play together! Sitting up and reading a book together for 10 minutes is also a great before laying baby down, especially if they have reflux. If your baby is showing sleep cues (arching their back, rubbing their eyes… these are clear signs to skip the book and get them to the next step!)
STEP 5: Place your child in their crib (FINAL STEP)
The last step is to place your little one into their crib. Say goodnight, give kisses and now they will put themselves to sleep (4+ months and older only, newborns need our assistance to fall asleep.) You leave the room and they fall asleep within 15 minutes.
So…. now what?
The bedtime routine is the 2nd step of my Baby Sleep Course. Bedtime routines sound simple, but it really is the foundation of how the night will go! If you’re helping your baby (4 months and older) as part of the bedtime routine that is EXACTLY why they will wake throughout the night. They are expecting you to help them. When I consult with parents I always will ask them to tell me about their bedtime routine and I can actually see where the problem points are, the bedtime routine is that important!
Once you implement a new bedtime routine, BE CONSISTENT! Don’t try it for a couple of days and think it’s not working (You wouldn’t work out for 2 days and then stop, right?) Keep at it! You can do this!
I hope these are helpful tips! My goal is for you and your family to have the tools you need to help your child get the rest they need to be their best.