The Ultimate Baby Bedtime Routine
You probably have a set routine before bed that looks something like this: turn off screens, wash your face, brush your teeth, get into bed.
Just as a nightly routine helps you transition from day to night, a bedtime routine for baby is good for little ones, too. An established routine can cue your baby that it’s time to sleep and lays the foundation for a good sleep schedule for years to come.
Not sure how to get started? We’ve got the tips you need to create the ultimate baby bedtime routine and make sure everyone in the family gets the nightly ZZZ’s they need.
Why a Baby Bedtime Routine Matters
Baby bedtime routines can help your baby sleep better at night and take longer naps during the day. But the benefits of a solid bedtime routine for baby go far beyond a well-rested baby (and a good night’s sleep for you).
Healthy sleep patterns are as essential as good nutrition for your baby’s development. Sleep helps your baby’s body grow and fight infections and illness, and is vital to healthy brain development, including language, attention, and impulse control. And once they’re accustomed to a baby bedtime routine that helps them drift off to sleep, that routine can even comfort your baby in unfamiliar surroundings—so if you are visiting family or traveling, your nighttime rituals can help your baby settle down and fall asleep when you’re away from home.
And if that’s not enough reason to embrace a baby bedtime routine, these nightly rituals can make bedtime one of the sweetest times of the day. While easing your baby’s transition from being awake to being asleep, you’re also building in time to meaningfully connect, cuddle, and bond with your baby every evening.
How to Establish The Best Baby Bedtime Routine
Now that you understand why a baby bedtime routine is important, let’s talk about how to establish the best baby bedtime routine for you and your family.
Newborns don’t really need a baby bedtime routine since so much of their day is spent sleeping, they’re only up for about 45 minutes to an hour at a time. But once your baby is 6 to 8 weeks old and on a day/night schedule, you can start putting a baby bedtime into place.
Before you begin, make sure you and your partner are on the same page about what the routine will look like and when baby bedtime will be. Since consistency is key, it’s a good idea to write it down and create a checklist to ensure you both understand each step of the routine and know how to follow it every night.
Aim for a routine that takes about 45 minutes to an hour and customize it so it meets the needs of your family. It doesn’t really matter what your baby bedtime routine is as long as you consistently follow the same steps and get your baby to bed at the same time every night.
A sample of an 8pm bedtime routine for baby might look like this:
- 7:00-7:30pm: Starting with a warm bath about an hour before bed is a great way to transition to sleepy time. Make sure the water is a safe and soothing temperature. Our Cleanwater™ Tub provides a constant flow of clean, warm water to help wash away the day, and has a built-in digital thermometer that alerts you if the water becomes too hot or too cold. End the bath by wrapping your baby in a soft, snuggly towel and giving a soothing massage with a rich, moisturizing lotion. Finish with lots of cuddles that let your baby know he or she is loved, then put on a clean diaper and pajamas and swaddle your baby.
- 7:30-7:35pm: Next, dim the lights and snuggle up for story time; even if your baby is too young to follow the story, the sound of your voice will calm him or her and help signal that it’s time for baby bedtime.
- 7:35-7:55pm: Feed and burp your baby; many parents like to make this the last step in their evening routine to fill up their baby’s tummy and help them sleep through the night. While they’re eating, softly sing or chat with your baby. It doesn’t matter if you sing a lullabye or just talk about the day—your voice will soothe and comfort them.
- 7:55pm: When your baby is drowsy—but not yet asleep—lay them down in their bassinet. A rocking bassinet is a great transition from the comfort of your arms, to a safe sleep surface. If you are using the MamaRoo Sleep® Bassinet, start the combination of sounds and motions that soothe your baby to sleep and quietly leave the room. (Ideally, try to time this about five minutes before baby bedtime so your baby learns to fall asleep on their own instead of in your arms.)