Baby Bedtime Routines: How To Create A Sleep Schedule
Putting your baby to sleep is not always easy, especially when they’re fussy! But the truth is a good night’s sleep starts before you put your baby down for bed. This is where a baby bedtime routine comes into play.
Creating a bedtime routine for your infant can help improve their quality of sleep and give you and your baby a relaxing night!
In this article, Babo Botanicals helps you create a schedule that works for your family by discovering the basics when it comes to a bedtime routine.
Why Is A Baby Bedtime Routine Important?
Just as you need a little time to unwind from the day and relax before bed, so does your baby. Establishing a good, consistent bedtime routine early on will help your baby develop healthy sleep habits now and for the future.
Babies learn through routine and repetition, especially before they start talking. If your little one has a predictable bedtime routine, they’ll begin to know when it’s time to settle down and go to sleep!
Here are a few specific ways a bedtime routine can benefit your little one.
Helps Your Baby Sleep Better
The whole purpose of a bedtime routine is to help your baby’s body unwind and get ready for a good, sound night of sleep. Your little one can more easily settle down for the night and sleep for a long stretch when you implement a bedtime routine.
Helps You Relax
At the end of the day, you want nothing more than to sit back and relax. But that’s not possible if you have a crying baby who is fighting sleep.
Establishing a bedtime routine for your little one can allow you to confidently put them to bed and then take a little much-needed time for yourself to relax at the end of the day.
When your baby falls asleep — and stays asleep! — because of a consistent bedtime schedule, it sets you both up for nighttime success!
Helps With Transitions
At different stages in your baby’s life, their sleep patterns will change. Their naps will lessen during the day and their nighttime sleep will increase.
Later on, you might have to adjust the time of their bedtime routine for various reasons, like when they start school. These transitions will be easier for your baby if they’ve already grasped the concept of a bedtime routine.
When To Create A Baby Bedtime Routine
In the early days after bringing your baby home from the hospital, you and your little one will need a bit of time to adjust.
Your body just went through a major change! And every single day, your baby’s tiny body is growing and learning about life outside of your womb.
As a newborn, your baby is eating and sleeping around the clock. So throw your expectations for a consistent routine out the window for at least the first month! But from six to eight weeks, your baby is more receptive to a routine, and a feeding schedule has likely been established.
While there is no one right time frame for creating a baby bedtime routine because every infant is different, around six to eight weeks is an ideal time to give it a try. Just remember to be patient and flexible!
How To Create A Baby Bedtime Routine
The goal of a bedtime routine is to keep your baby’s nighttime activities similar from day to day, meaning your little one does the same exact thing every night. You could read a book, sing a song, or cuddle with your baby.
Whatever you do, keep your baby’s bedtime routine consistent. Aim to start these activities 20 minutes before you want your little one to go to bed, and make them calm and enjoyable.
Observe Your Baby’s Cues
Those first few weeks after birth, you and your baby learn each other’s mannerisms. As a parent, you start to notice when your baby is getting sleepy.
You don’t want to put your baby to bed too early or too late. By this, we mean before they are ready to settle down or when they’re past the point of settling down.
You might have a fussy baby on your hand with both of these scenarios. Your baby may cry because they still want to play and cuddle, or they may cry because they’re overtired.
You and your little one will figure each other out before you know it! But observing your baby’s cues helps you get a better idea of when they're getting sleepy and when it’s time to start their bedtime routine.
Slowly Introduce New Bedtime Activities
Keep your baby’s bedtime routine simple. Maybe you sing a song to your baby while you rock and put them to sleep. Over time, you can add some tried-and-true bedtime rituals, like letting your baby soak in a bath.
Pay attention to your baby’s development and experiment to see what works for them. But only begin one new ritual at a time. This way, your little one won’t be overwhelmed with too many changes at once!
(Note: Both mom and dad can switch up and take turns with the bedtime routine. So when your sweet little baby turns into a toddler, it’s not only mom or dad who does the bedtime routine. It can be both!)
Put Your Baby To Bed When They’re Drowsy
Because of the different sleep cycles, your baby will stir in their sleep. This means your little one will wake up for just a few seconds and then drift off to sleep again.
Now, let’s say your baby woke up and everything looked different from what they last remembered. Those few seconds can easily turn into a few minutes of crying.
Your baby will cry because the last thing they saw before they drifted off to sleep was your face. So, when your little one starts stirring at night and doesn’t see you, it can easily startle them.
To prevent this from happening and help your baby learn to fall asleep on their own, put them down in their crib while they’re drowsy, meaning their eyes are still open but heavy.
Keep Your Baby’s Daytime Routine Consistent
Just like with bedtime, you want to keep your baby’s daytime routine consistent so they expect what’s to come each and every day. Their body will adjust to days and nights and realize when it’s time to settle down for bed.
We know it’s not easy keeping your baby’s eating, nap, and play schedule at the same time every single day. That’s OK! What matters more than the time of each activity is the order of the activities.
So, for example, if you follow an eat-play-sleep schedule, stick to it! This way, your baby will eventually catch on to what comes next and will be able to start sleeping through the night before you know it!
Sample Bedtime Routine
To give you an idea, let’s take a look at a sample bedtime routine:
- Feed your baby at the start of their bedtime routine.
- Give your baby a warm bath with Babo Botanicals’s Calming Shampoo, Bubble Bath & Wash. The soft, soothing scent of French Lavender will calm your baby and help them relax at the end of the day!
- Give your baby a massage with lotion! Our Moisturizing Baby Lotion contains the gentlest blend of nourishing botanicals to soothe and protect your baby’s delicate skin.
- Dress your baby for bed.
- Read a story.
(Tip: If your baby has sensitive skin, try our Sensitive Daily Hydra Baby Lotion. It’s enriched with Babo Botanicals’s Organic Nutri-Soothe™ Complex and packed with vitamins, making it the perfect lotion for gently massaging your little one’s skin!)
Time To Relax
Your baby needs consistency just as much as you want consistency. Doing the same routine in the same order every night signals your baby’s body and brain that it’s time to settle down and get some rest.
Give your baby’s bedtime routine a great start by trying one of our many products specially formulated for their specific skin care needs! Our lavender collection, for example, is full of delightful calming bedtime products enriched with soothing organic ingredients.
It may take a little while for your baby to get the hang of a routine, but once they do, they’ll enjoy catching some Z’s just as much as you do!