Developing a relaxing bedtime routine will help your baby recognize when it’s time to calm down in preparation for sleep and help set the stage for day coming to an end. Pick a few simple steps (2-3), and use them each night before bed.
All babies will likely have a feeding before bed so just pick an additional 1-2 steps.
The key to an effective bedtime routine is to do the same routine with 2-3 activities in the same order every night prior to bedtime; and you can add additional steps, or adjust the routine as your baby grows. For example: a bath may be relaxing in the early months, but provide too much stimulation as he gets older.
Some ideas for your bedtime routine:
- Washing his face and hands, wiping his gums or brushing teeth (important to start this habit early so he gets used to it) diaper change and getting into his pajamas.
- Massage Link to baby massage on crying page
- Bath (only if it doesn’t excite your baby and he enjoys them!)
- Reading a book
- Swaddling if you choose to. See Safe Swaddling for more information.
- Song, prayers or soothing dance (without getting him over-excited)
- Having a chat, talking about your day or what you’re going to do tomorrow
ENCOURAGE RESTFUL SLEEP AT NIGHT
Once your baby has been put down to sleep for the night treat all awakenings in the same manner. Respect nighttime sleep and eventually your baby will too!
- Keep lights, stimulation and interaction to a minimum. When he wakes and needs to feed, do so quietly in a relaxing, dimly lit environment and gently put him back to sleep.
- Diaper changes don’t need to happen after every feed. If he can tolerate a lightly wet diaper (and no rash) consider changing him less frequently at night.
- Try a Dreamfeed: before you go to bed offer him a feed without completely waking him up. Hopefully this will stretch out the time before his next feed.