How to Establish a Good Bedtime Routine with Your Baby

Blog > How to Establish a Good Bedtime Routine with Your Baby
Posted on: January 4th, 2018by Ivana Stamenkovic

Have you ever wondered how to establish a good bedtime routine with your baby? Once your baby is around three months old, you might start introducing a bedtime routine. Ideal time for a regular bedtime routine is between 6.30pm and 8.30pm. You don't want your baby to become too tired. It's also better to keep your routine short and simple in the beginning, not more than 20 to 30 minutes. Especially if your baby is too young.

A well-established bedtime routine will benefit both you and your baby. You'll finally have some time for yourself, and your baby will learn how to fall asleep without too much fuss. Babies are big fans of routines - they feel more relaxed if they know what’s coming next.

Creating a Good Bedtime Routine

There are several different things your bedtime routine could include. It’s up to you to choose the ones both you and your baby prefer. It's more important where you'll finish your routine, than where you'll start it. Try to always end it in the room where your baby should fall asleep.

Things you might include in your baby's bedtime routine:
Bath time - A bedtime routine usually starts in the bathroom, with a calm and relaxing bath. Try keeping it quiet, rather than over stimulating. And if your baby doesn’t like it - skip it. You can always introduce it later. Don’t forget that you should introduce teeth brushing as soon as your baby's first teeth appear.
Massage - A gentle massage will help your baby relax after a bath. Use a gentle baby moisturizer or oil, warmed in your hands.
Milk - Offer your baby a bottle of milk before you put her to bed. You should leave a little time between the last feeding and putting her to bed - read her a bedtime story, play a quiet game or sing her a lullaby.
Bedtime story/game/lullaby - Once you change her into her pajamas, you may play a quiet game or read her a bedtime story. You may also sing her a lullaby. Most babies enjoy listening to their parents’ voices. It soothes them. You can talk about what she’s done that day, or you can say goodnight to everyone and everything. That way you'll show her that everyone is also going to sleep.
Bed - Put your baby to bed, kiss her goodnight, and leave the room.

You should always try to stick to your bedtime routine. It's even more important that you stick to it when you’re not at home. It will help your baby fall asleep when she's in unfamiliar surroundings. Unfortunately, there will be times when you'll just have to accept that your routine has to change. Your baby might get ill, she might be teething, or she might experience a separation anxiety. You might even have to change it when the clock is changing. But once everything is as it was before, you should start re-establishing your routine. If you've had a well-established routine before, you probably won't have any problems re-establishing it.

Beware of creating bad sleep habits. If your baby falls asleep during the feeding, she might create a link between milk and sleep, and he might expect to get a bottle of milk every time she wakes up in the night. The same goes for rocking her to sleep. If your baby only falls asleep in your arms, she'll expect the same treatment every time she wakes up. Aim to put your baby in bed while she's still awake. That way she won't need you to settle her back to sleep every time she wakes up.

Problems with Establishing a Bedtime Routine

Waking up for a feeding - Younger babies might still wake up for a bottle of milk, but once your baby is between six and 12 months, she might be ready to sleep through the night without a feeding.
Fear of the dark - As they get older, some children start to fear of the dark. To prevent this, you might turn off the light before you leave the room, so your child won't associate it with feelings of being abandoned.

Some parents might think that routines aren't for them. They find it inflexible and tedious.

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