When to Start a Bedtime Routine for Baby


Here’s When to Start a Bedtime Routine for Baby

Pop quiz! You want your baby to start sleeping through the night. Do you:

A: Choose a bedtime at random each night by throwing darts at your clock?

B: Study the arcane secrets of the world’s most powerful baby hypnotists?

C: Create a PowerPoint presentation for your infant that lays out the benefits of good sleep habits?

D: Establish a standard bedtime routine to calm them and ease them into a restful night’s sleep?

While it’s true that both watching and designing PowerPoint presentations is enough to put even the most hardened insomniacs to sleep, the answer is “D.”

I Can Already Start a Baby Bedtime Routine?

You don’t have to wait until you have a toddler to start a bedtime routine for baby.

It’s a myth that babies are too young for a predictable nighttime routine. In reality, most infants are ready to start consistent bedtime patterns when they’re just six to eight weeks old.

The fact that your baby could likely start training this instant means the only thing holding you back from your family enjoying a full night of sleep is you!

So put down the hypnosis books, stow your darts back in their case, delete all traces of PowerPoint from your computer, and then read on. We’ll show you that a predictable nighttime routine is not only achievable at a very young age, but it is also, in truth, the best thing you can do for your baby’s sleep training.

What’s a Baby Bedtime Routine?

Bedtime routines are consistent, repetitive activities that we do every night before bed. They help slow us down and create a mind space ready to welcome the sweet release of sleep.

We adults have our own routines, even if we’re not aware of them. We wash our faces, brush our teeth, get into our Dr. Eddie’s logo-emblazoned jammies (that might just be us), and settle in for a half-hour of TV before falling asleep with the lights on.

These predictable patterns of behavior help us transition into sleep mode, and they work for babies just as well as they do for older kids and grown-ups. The sooner you establish a baby bedtime routine, the better!

What Is a Good Bedtime Routine for a Newborn?

A baby’s bedtime routine helps signal to them that it’s time for sleep. They learn early on what to expect, which creates a sense of security and aids them in falling asleep on their own.

Initially, you’ll set the schedule for your baby. As they grow, you’ll revise the procedures on your own and in collaboration with them. Here’s a good routine to get you started.

  • Give your baby a bath and a new diaper about an hour before sleep. The warm water will begin to relax them. Then, about 45 minutes before bed, apply lotion, massage your infant’s skin, get them into their jammies, and swaddle them.
  • Next, dim the lights and do the calming activities your baby enjoys. This can include turning on a white noise maker if you use one (you definitely do not need to have one), and nursing your baby or giving them a bottle. You’ll begin those steps roughly a half-hour before sleep. Fifteen minutes before bedtime, begin to rock and burp your baby as necessary; it’s a great time for snuggles, too!
  • Ease the transition to sleep. Your little one should be fairly drowsy after all of this gentle attention. Five minutes before bed, lie them in their crib and sing them a lullaby or read them a book to help.
  • Leave the room peacefully. Once they’re nicely situated, try and leave the room so that they can learn to fall asleep on their own. If they’re amenable to your exit, part with a few closing words like, “I love you, good night!” and then shut the door quietly.

Now keep it up. Consistency is the key to establishing a routine. Try starting your new process at the same time every evening. Your baby’s natural rhythms will align with your new schedule, hastening its acceptance.

Help Baby Learn Healthy Sleep Routines Early

That’s it! You have everything you need to punch your baby’s ticket on the sleepy-time train. Hopefully, you remember everything we’ve discussed, or we’ll have to dust off the PowerPoint presentation, and nobody wants that. Good luck!

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Dr. Eddie Valenzuela is an award winning pediatrician and the founder and CEO of Pediatric Solutions, LLC.

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