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Ideas for starting a baby bedtime routine

Submitted by on Tuesday, 14 October 20082 Comments

Many people wonder when and how to implement a bedtime routine with their baby.  You can’t really read your baby a bedtime story, so what do you do to signal to your baby that it is time for bed?  Also, at what age is it appropriate to start a bedtime routine with your baby?

Following this routine will probably put you to sleep too!

Following this routine will probably put you to sleep too!

I find that when the baby is around 2-3 months old you can start working a baby bedtime routine into your evenings, depending on the baby.  Earlier than that is difficult, as the baby is still establishing its circadian rhythms and adjusting to the world in general.  You can try, but don’t be surprised if you do your bedtime routine, put your baby to bed, and an hour later he is wide awake again.  Even in these cases, it is still good to try and keep a nighttime atmosphere, to keep the consistent nighttime message.

The other challenge is that the success of your bedtime routine will also depend on how much your baby slept during the day.  For example, Sweet Cheeks slept quite a lot yesterday afternoon, so when we put her to bed at her usual time, following her bedtime routine, she ended up falling asleep about a half-hour later than she usually does.

So what are some things you can do in your routine?  Here are some ideas.  You don’t have to do all of these things, and they don’t have to be in this order:

  • Give her a bath (nice and relaxing)
  • Give her a baby massage (also very relaxing)
  • Feed her (see point five here for a good point about the effect a good feed can have on your baby’s sleep and demeanor)
  • Rock her gently or walk with her to relax her (if you fed her, this is probably a necessary step, in order to burp her before falling asleep too)
  • Create some white noise, perhaps using a blow dryer (you may or may not like this idea, but it works for me)
  • Lie her in bed/crib/bassinet and play a nighttime lullaby (I am falling asleep just writing this)

Notice that all of these things are very relaxing and soothing and serve to help your baby feel sleepier and get a better, longer sleep.  So, in addition to signaling to your baby that it is bedtime, you are helping it to sleep better too.  This also translates into a better sleep for someone very very important – YOU!

We do all of these things before we put Sweet Cheeks to bed, and we find it is a very nice way to end the day with her, and she enjoys it.  She usually falls asleep shortly after we lie her down, and sleeps through for a good five hours or so.

So, if you are looking for ways to start a bedtime routine with your baby, definitely give some of these ideas a try.  We are happy with them!

Join the jam and share some of your bedtime routine ideas with us and let us know what has worked for you!

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