YES!!! Babies thrive on consistency and routines that help them feel comfortable and safe. Creating a consistent and comfortable bedtime routine will not only help your baby anticipate what is coming next, but also foster healthy sleep habits for years to come.
Some parents are unsure about when to begin this routine. I believe the earlier, the better! The first few weeks after you bring your baby home are a whirlwind. Creating a consistent routine may seem as unimaginable as getting a full night’s sleep, but I promise – you will be happy once you begin one. Working parents especially enjoy this as it allows for bonding and quiet time together. First bedtime routines may include a warm bath, changing into PJs, infant massage, a few lullabies, a book, bottle or boob and finally bed! The sequence of events will change as your baby grows and develops. Once your baby has a few teeth, it is important to incorporate brushing into the nighttime routine.
Easing into the Bedtime Routine
- Turn off the television, iPad, and video games one hour prior to bedtime. This allows your baby to wind down in a less stimulating environment before going to sleep.
- Offer a snack to an older child with milk or water and give a bottle or boob to babies.
- Give your baby a bath before bed. The warm water is soothing, allowing for relaxation. Be sure to use lotion afterward to keep their skin super soft. I like Cetaphil as it is not too harsh on my baby’s skin.
- Change into pajamas. If your child is old enough, have them pick out their own pajamas and bed sheets so they are excited about going to bed.
- Sing a lullaby and read a book.
- Say “goodnight” and “I love you” before transferring your child into the crib or bed. This should be the last step before you turn off the lights.