How to Create a Baby Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep

How to Create a Baby Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep

July 9, 2018

How to Create a Baby Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep

How to Create a Baby Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep
When it comes to getting better sleep for you and baby, consistency is key.How to Create a Baby Bedtime Routine for Better Sleep

When your baby is a newborn, the idea of having any kind of bedtime routine can seem like a crazy idea. But you know what babies love almost as much as eating and snuggles? Consistency.

Around 4 months old can be great time to start a bedtime routine, but little ones as young as even 6 or 8 weeks can benefit from simple clues that help signal it’s time for sleep. As your baby gets older, you can create more elaborate bedtime routines, but in the beginning, it’s totally fine to keep it easy.

Why should you bother with a sleep routine? Everyone’s brains and bodies need some kind of wind down before bed. And in the long run, it can mean better sleep—for your baby and you. Healthy sleep patterns are vital for your baby’s physical and mental development, as well as yours. Sleep deprivation can be rough, and it can make new parenting, work and daily life in general way tougher.

We’ve partnered with Nanit—the innovative baby monitor that not only gives you an amazing overhead view of your baby, but also provides automatic sleep tracking and personalized tips tailored for your baby—to help you establish a bedtime routine.

Set a regular bedtime

When babies are born, they don’t know that nights are for sleeping and days are for waking. It’s perfectly normal for them to sleep in short bursts and wake every 2-3 hours to eat. Around 6-8 weeks, they begin to develop their circadian rhythms and usually start sleeping for longer stretches of time at night. By the 4 month mark, most babies are physically and neurologically capable of going throughout the night without a feed.

Around this age, pick a time, say between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., to begin regularly putting baby down to bed for the night. This can be tough, because life can get in the way, but try your best to stick to it, both during the week and on weekends. Nanit can help by keeping track of when you put your baby down and when they fall asleep, so you can see how well you’re sticking to your routine.

Try to keep baby’s daytime routine as consistent as possible, as well. Keep naps and feedings at regular times, and try using similar cues and patterns when putting baby down for naps as you do for bedtime. If baby is with another caregiver during the day, Nanit provides you with insight into whether or not baby’s daytime routine is staying consistent.

Create a cozy sleep environment

  • Keep it cool and dark. Consider blackout curtains if baby’s sleeping room has too much natural light. Nanit has a soft glow nightlight so you still can do diaper changes or find a binky without waking baby up. Its temperature and humidity sensors also let you oversee room conditions so you’ll know if it gets too warm or dry in baby’s room.
  • Use a firm mattress. Also put baby down in a bare crib or bassinet with no pillows, blankets or stuffed animals.
  • Try white noise. Many babies are easily woken by noises around the house, and parents find a white noise machine or app can help baby sleep. Turning one on at sleep time can signal it’s time for rest.

Set signals for bed

Some parents like to give baby a bath with calming soaps, do a baby massage with lotion or read books and sing soothing lullabies to relax. Any or all of these are great, but honestly, when you’re tired and trying to create a new routine, all that can seem like a lot to take on.

Simple cues, like dimming lights around the house, changing baby’s diaper and dressing them in their jammies, swaddle or sleep sack or turning on the white noise machine in baby’s room can signal that it’s time for sleep.

Some parents like to have regular “goodnight” words or phrases they say to their baby at bedtime. It can be a sweet family tradition to start.

Drowsy but awake

Once your baby is 4 months old, try to put some time between feeding baby and bedtime. Put baby to bed while drowsy but still awake, so baby doesn’t rely on nursing or a bottle in order to fall asleep. This can help establish self soothing in time. Nanit Insights can tell you how long it takes for baby to fall asleep, both at the outset and if they wake at night, so you’ll really know if it’s taking forever for baby to fall asleep, or only seems that way.

Nanit Insights also gives you a timelapse highlight reel that shows baby’s entire night of sleep in under a minute, so you see what happened when baby woke up: Lost pacifier? Little one Houdini’d out of that swaddle? Rewind in the morning, and Nanit can help you solve some of nighttime’s little mysteries.

Be patient

All babies, like all parents, are different, and yours might not take kindly to not being fed or rocked to sleep right away. And that’s fine. Give it some time and keep trying. And know that developmental sleep regressions, colds, vacations and other life interruptions can throw schedules out of whack.

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