Whether you realise it or not, we all have a bedtime routine. Getting into your pjs, brushing your teeth, reading a book, etc all form part of our bedtime routine.
But, it is important to create a positive and consistent bedtime routine for your baby too. This should consist of a few calming activities that your baby enjoys, around 20 minutes before bedtime.
Studies have found that good, consistent bedtime routines from an early age can result in better academic performance and social skills later in life. Poor bedtime routines can result in sleep problems and bedtime resistance during teenage years.
Let’s look in more detail at why a good bedtime routine is so important…
Benefits of a consistent bedtime routine
- Reinforces babies’ natural circadian rhythms which helps them to understand the transition from daytime to nighttime
- Helps to soothe and calm your little one so they’re ready for sleep
- Can help babies to feel a sense of comfort which can be helpful when sleep training, or when your baby is going through a sleep regression
- Develops good sleep habits for the future
- Helps you to relax and bond with your baby
At what age should you introduce a bedtime routine?
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to baby sleep and it can take some time to settle in with your newborn. At around 6 to 8 weeks old, you can start to create a consistent bedtime routine. Keep it short to begin with, then you can start to build the routine (keep reading…)
How to create a positive bedtime routine
Think of a few activities your little one enjoys – these should be calm and relaxing and start around 20 minutes before bedtime. This could include:
- A cuddly feed.
- Read a book in a quiet voice to your baby. If you have a rocking chair or a cosy space this is a great place to do your reading.
- A gentle baby massage. This can produce the hormone melatonin, which encourages sleep.
- A warm, soothing bath with camomile or lavender (not to be done every night as this could dry out your baby’s skin).
- Sing a song or lullaby.
- Use a white noise machine.
Take a look at my Top Baby Products for Healthy Sleep for my recommended products to support healthy sleep habits in infants and toddlers.
Remember, consistency is key. The more you follow the same routine, the more your little one will associate the routine with bedtime and sleep.
By creating a positive, consistent bedtime routine, you’re giving yourself and your little one the very best chance of a good night’s sleep. If they’re still struggling to sleep through the night, get in touch with me for a free consultation.