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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!

5 comments

  • I am still learning and growing as a new mom but I have been struggling with setting the right routine for me and baby. My husband suggested looking for ideas online and that landed me here. Very glad I found this site and this article. Very insightful, honest, and creative. I am going to jot down some notes and work on this. I know me and baby will be much happier when there is a stable and calming routine in place. Going to get a few of those minky blankets too! They sound amazing!

    Amber
  • Oof, the lack of sleep with new babies is SO tough. My sister-in-law didn’t sleep for three years after her first. I love the routine outlined here – simple, but effective. Your principles are spot on: food in belly, relaxation, routine. Yes, yes yes.

    Inya
  • With my first baby, I was so exhausted I just wanted my daughter to go to sleep. I never realized the importance of a bedtime routine. I love these tips! I can’t wait to try them with baby number two….due August 22nd. The Minky Blanket is on my list in several colors. Thank you for sharing.

    Olivia Payne
  • I’m also struggling with my toddler. She acknowledges that she is tired and sleepy but doesn’t want to go to bed but falls asleep at random places around the house haha I sure hope that setting a routine while incorporating the other tips you’ve mentioned will show some progress. Thanks for the advice.

    Maria Vod.
  • Thank you for your valuable tips. Bedtime for me has been a difficult time for me and his dad these last months. My baby stays up late, and when I put him to bed, he starts to cry for attention even if he is exhausted. I’m going to use your tips and see how it goes.

    Grace Mar.

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