How to Start a Bedtime Routine for Your BabyApr 18, 2022
If you have been around for a while you KNOW I’m an advocate for bedtime routines. Yes, for babies and children but honestly even for adults too… but that’s for another blog someday! Bedtime routines can seriously be MAGICAL.
Did you know... Infants who have a consistent bedtime routine sleep on average 86 minutes longer than those who don't have a consistent bedtime routine?
Even on their own, without other healthy sleep hygiene practices, bedtime routines can provide some stability and consistency that your baby or toddler needs to relax and fall asleep at bedtime.
Of course, this isn’t the ONLY way to get great sleep for your little one, and there are lots of other tips that probably need to be implemented too, but it is definitely a cornerstone to sleeping all night long, and the perfect first step!
Studies have shown that a predictable bedtime routine is associated with improved sleep onset latency (taking a shorter time to fall asleep) and sleep consolidation in young children. In fact, the same study showed that children aged 3 and above who didn’t have a consistent bedtime routine were reported to get less sleep overall.
SO LET’S START WITH WHEN YOU SHOULD START A BEDTIME ROUTINE...
My personal suggestion is to start as soon as you are ready! If this is day 1 in the hospital, I salute you! Lol, but don’t stress, and give yourself a few weeks to settle into parenthood if you prefer. The real answer is that it’s NEVER too late or too early! Just get started!
WHAT YOUR BEDTIME ROUTINE SHOULD LOOK LIKE…..
It doesn’t have to be fancy, long, or spectacular in any way! Even the busiest of parents can have a routine. It just needs to be simple, sustainable, and predictable. If you are unable to sustain your bedtime routine, you should simplify it. The most important thing is that it is consistently the same routine pretty much every night!
CONSISTENCY = SAFETY AND SECURITY FOR OUR YOUNG CHILDREN
Think about it. Routine is the ONLY way they can really predict that something is about to happen. Otherwise they are just living life being carried or walked from place to place without knowing what is coming next. Can you imagine that being stressful?! I sure can!
This routine is a way of telling them, “Hey, it’s time to sleep soon. Let’s wind down together!” This way they don’t feel stressed or blindsided when one minute they are playing with their mama, and next second in a crib expected to go to sleep. That would be confusing and annoying right?
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A SIMPLE BABY BEDTIME ROUTINE:
Step 1: Bath or wipe down with a warm washcloth.
Step 2: Change into PJ’s and have a bedtime milk bottle or nursing!
Step 3: Read a book!
Step 4: Pop them in their sleep sack or swaddle (newborns only).
I love both the Zipadee Zip and the Kyte Baby sleep sacks! If you do this consistently enough, you’ll find they’ll get sleepy and start yawning and feeling cozy as soon as you get them all tucked up in their sleep sack! You can actually get 15% off the Zipadee Zip using my code: COZYBABYSLEEP15.
Step 5: Lights out and bedtime!
If your baby isn’t able to fall asleep without rocking/ nursing/bouncing. You can look into sleep teaching and see if that is something you would like to do! Sleep teaching helps baby to fall asleep on their own at bedtime, and therefore connect their sleep cycles overnight. This way, they’ll only wake if they truly need a feeding, or something else! To learn more about sleep cycles and sleep teaching, read this blog!
There is no need to change a great deal about your bedtime routine when your baby becomes a toddler, but it can be helpful to add some exercise/wiggle time for them! Our family personally plays a little game we call “1-2-3 GO!” Which is basically just running from one side of the hallway to the bathroom where they leap into your arms for a hug before starting bath. Let’s be honest this is repeated quite a few times, lol. You can be creative with this! Have a little dance party or play a little game. It allows your toddler to get their little wiggles out before bed!
If you’re constantly having toddler bedtime battles, I have a free guide for you!
I FEEL LIKE I’M DOING ALL OF THIS ALREADY AND WE ARE STILL STRUGGLING WITH SLEEP… SO, WHAT NOW?
Depending on your individual needs and your budget, I have something to help you get your family sleeping all night long!
Mindell, J. A., Meltzer, L. J., Carskadon, M. A., & Chervin, R. D. (2009). Developmental aspects of sleep hygiene: Findings from the 2004 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America Poll. Sleep Medicine, 10(7), 771–779. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2008.07.016
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