Setting Up A Perfect Bedtime Routine
If there’s one thing all parents think about, it’s sleep. Whether it’s getting your baby to sleep through the night, perfecting a nap schedule, or figuring out how to get your chores done so that you can get some sleep as well, sleep is a big part of any parent’s life.
When it comes to your baby’s nighttime sleep, the best way to ensure success is a predictable and effective bedtime routine. A good routine will calm your baby from the stimulation of the day and will cue his or her brain that the time for a long, restful sleep is approaching.
A bedtime routine will look a bit different in each home, but here are a few general guidelines to help you create a routine that works for you and your baby:
#1. Start Clean
Many families start their bedtime routine with a bath. The warm water is soothing for the baby, and bath time quickly becomes a clear indicator that the day is done and it’s time to wind down.
It makes sense to have a few toys in the tub to keep the baby’s attention, but it’s best to look for toys that aren’t too engaging to stimulating. You want to avoid anything that lights up or makes big noises here as your baby’s nervous system is starting to relax.
#2. Calm Down
After the bath, once your baby is in his or her pajamas, choose a quick activity that again sends the message that it’s time to slow down. This is a great time to read a favorite book or even to listen to some lullabies.
If you can, stay in the nursery from the time right after baby’s bath until they go to sleep. The more comfortable your little one is in the room before it’s time to sleep, the more likely it is that he or she will fall asleep quickly and stay asleep throughout the night.
Another important thing to remember is to keep your baby warm in this time after the bath but before going to sleep. Keep a cozy blanket like a Baby Minky Blanket nearby that you can cuddle with when reading a book or listening to music together.
#3. Fill Up
At some point in your bedtime routine, many babies enjoy a final milk feeding of the day. Whether nursing or drinking from a bottle or sippy cup, this is a great final opportunity for some snuggles before your baby goes to sleep.
Some families choose to give the baby his or her milk while reading, and others prefer to separate the two activities to draw the bedtime routine out and give the baby more time to get sleepy. Either one is fine, but make sure that your baby is getting a full feeding to ensure the longest possible stretch of sleep.
#4. Be Consistent
Babies thrive on routine and predictability, and the more consistent you are with your bedtime routine, the more it will be a clear message to your baby that bedtime is coming. That said, you don’t have to read the same book or listen to exactly the same song each night, but you do want to keep the general flow and order of activities the same.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to bedtime routines. It’s up to you to find what works best for your family. As long as your little one has a chance to calm down after the day, to fill his or her belly, and to fit in a few last snuggles with mom or dad, he or she will be ready for a great night’s sleep!