What’s the best bedtime routine for my baby?
Did you know that you can start your baby’s bedtime routine at any age? Even on the day you bring them home. When Kian was born, I was clueless about what to do with a baby. In my sleep-deprived state, I was trying to read Gina Ford and follow her routine. Without much success, I have to say! But when Lily was born, we started a bedtime routine after a few weeks at home, once we were settled.
How Long Should the Bedtime Routine Last?
The whole bedtime routine should ideally take about 30-40 minutes. The bedtime routine is great for helping baby to wind down ready for bed. They have time in their sleep space, and know what comes next – sleep!
If your bedtime routine is too short, you might not be giving your baby enough time to wind down. Too long, and they might become overtired and find it harder to settle.
Here’s an idea of what a bedtime routine might look like:
Starting the routine with a feed in a bright room, can make it easier for your baby to stay wide awake on the feed. It’s happening a bit earlier, before the bath, and, coupled with a bright room, will help baby to stay awake. Having a good feed at the start of the routine will also help to top your baby up.
2. Bath time
A bath can be a great way to signal that it’s bedtime for your baby. it also raises their temperature, so their body has to do a bit of work and expend energy to bring it back down. Which is why we feel tired after a bath. You don’t need to give your baby a bath every night; every other night can work too. On non-bath nights, a quick wash of their face and hands in the bathroom can serve the same purpose as the bath in signalling bedtime.
3. Dry and dress
Once bathtime is done, it’s time for a clean nappy and putting on pyjamas. Once your baby has teeth, you can also introduce brushing in or after the bath.
4. Story & song
Afterwards, take your baby into their dimly lit bedroom for storytime. For newborns, they can enjoy the pictures and colours. Older babies who are on the move might not seem to pay attention, but it’s still a beneficial step. And time spent in a dimly lit room will help sleep hormones to increase and make them sleepy at bedtime. Finishing with a quick song, such as one round of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.
5. Put baby in the cot
The last step of the routine is to say night night, have a cuddle and pop baby into the cot.
What comes after the best bedtime routine for my baby?
This bedtime routine forms the foundation of my Slumber School programme for babies 6-18 months. It might not sound like a big deal, but it’s crucial for how the entire night unfolds. If you’re involved in how your baby falls asleep as part of the bedtime routine, that’s precisely why you’re seeing them repeatedly at night (excluding newborns, who’ll need to feed regularly).
If you’re looking at the best bedtime routine for your baby and thinking about how to put your baby down awake, I have the complete step-by-step answer for you in Slumber School! AND it comes with twice-weekly support!!
When you’ve started your new bedtime routine, stick with it and remain consistent. Change can take time, so keep going for a week or so to see a difference. Having a plan can really help and if you want some support with the next steps, Slumber School can help! If you’re interested in 1-1 support click here to find out more.