A bedtime routine is a series of familiar steps leading up to bed time. Each of these little steps tells your baby that sleep is coming. If your routine is consistent, each step of it will become a like a mini sleep trigger and this is just want you want – a baby who is sleepy at bedtime.
The great thing about a bedtime routine is that it will also help your baby to feel safe and secure. The reason for this is that babies love things to be familiar and predictable.
The perfect routine
- Begin your routine shortly before you know your baby is ready for sleep
- You should start up to an hour before the bedtime feed is due
- Don’t necessarily expect a baby of just a few weeks old to be ready for bed at 7pm – your routine may have to start later in the evening. It’s pointless starting a bedtime routine at 6pm if your baby doesn’t go to sleep until 9pm
- Take everything that you need for the night with you, to avoid having to come back into the living area
- Follow a similar bed time ‘script’ by using familiar phrases and actions at key points during the routine
- Bath your baby every night unless there are genuine reasons why you can’t – and sing the same ‘action’ song in the bath each night
- Go directly to your baby’s sleep room after the bath
- Clean nappy
- Milk feed
- Goodnight song or story
- Into the cot awake but sleepy, to settle for the night
Your baby’s bedtime routine should be a lovely experience for both of you. Even though it is the end of the day, and you are both tired – try to make your bedtime routine a special time. It is important that before settling to sleep for the night, your baby feels loved by you.