Thank you to I See Me Books for sponsoring this post.
Do you want to help your baby have a smoother, less tearful transition to sleep at night?
Do you wish your baby would STAY asleep longer once they do drift off?
There are so many different methods to get your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep on their own (AKA “sleep training”) out there, which I know can be a bit overwhelming. However, one foundational element almost all sleep training methods include is developing and sticking with a bedtime routine.
A peaceful, predictable bedtime routine is an important part of helping a baby to wind down and sleep well at night; A baby who knows what is coming next is more relaxed, and therefore more likely to fall and stay asleep. Getting your baby used to a nightly routine from as early as 6 to 8 weeks not only has benefits for them, but also for you as a parent. It is nice to have special time, that you don’t have to plan or think about, set aside to connect with your little one at the end of each day.
Establishing a bedtime routine early on can also set you up for future successes in getting your little one to to brush their teeth, use the potty and complete other before-bed musts when they become a toddler. There are numerous benefits to creating a consistent bedtime routine for a baby, and it’s a critical component to helping your baby to be a better sleeper. So, why not start there?
Although there isn’t a prescription for the perfect bedtime routine for a baby (trust me, I looked!), below are 15 soothing elements you could choose to include within your little one’s nightly routine:
How To Create A Bedtime Routine:
To create the routine, my recommendation would be to keep it simple, and follow the process below:
- Pick 4-6 elements from the list above.
- Choose the order of those elements.
- Time how long your routine takes to complete.
- If the routine takes longer than you’d like, drop 1-2 of the components.
- Once you’ve determine which elements are most soothing for your baby, and realistic for you to complete each night, continue to follow that same predictable pattern of events beginning at the same time (as much as possible) each night.
A bedtime routine won’t be effective unless it is, well, routine.
Something important to note is that what works for one baby in a bedtime routine may not work for another. Babies are all SO different! For example, some babies are soothed and calmed by a nightly bath before going to bed. Taylor, on the other hand, gets very excited by a bath (more on her bath time routine and favs in this post), making it completely counterproductive to winding down. Another example from our experience was that ending our routine with a nursing session resulted in Taylor waking up much more frequently in the night than she does now that it comes at the beginning of her routine; However, some babies will sleep through the night regardless of when their final nursing or bottle session occurs.
The Perfect Addition To A Bedtime Routine:
We tried out several different iterations of a bedtime routine, playing with both the length of the routine as well as the components and their order, to find out what worked for both Taylor, her Dad and I. Please continue reading to find out Taylor’s current bedtime routine…but first I’m excited to share our new favorite board book from ISeeMe.com, known for their award winning personalized children’s books. We have loved incorporating this board book into Taylor’s bedtime routine lately:
It’s Taylor’s Night Night Time! is the perfect compliment to a bedtime routine for any baby – of course personalized with your babe’s own name!
Board books are essential for babies this age, and let me tell you that I See Me has super cute ones to choose from. Each book includes adorable personalization details on almost every page. One of my favorites is the option to add a personalized inscription on the first page of the book; you can even choose to include your sweet baby’s picture to make it even more special. I See Me has personalized books for babies and kids ranging from special occasions (i.e. holidays, birthdays), to fairy tales, to coloring books, and even personalized sticker books, puzzles and growth charts.
Taylor’s Bedtime Routine (10 months old)
We start Taylor’s bedtime routine 25 minutes prior to when I’d like her to be asleep, then complete the following elements in this exact order every night:
- Nursing or bottle. Her last nursing session takes place outside of her room on the couch in the living room, so as to separate feeding to sleep as much as possible.
- We then move into her room and turn on her night light and white noise machine, and then turn off the main light in her room.
- I change her into her nighttime diaper and pajamas.
- We walk around the room saying goodnight to objects and prints in her room (e.g. “goodnight crib, elephant rocker, etc”), ending in saying good night to her ABC Poster and singing the corresponding song to her.
- Then, I put her into her sleep sack. Right now she is sleep in this Halo Sleep Sack that has openings in the bottom for her feet. She has always slept in some version of a Halo Sleep sack, beginning with their swaddler version for the first 5 months of her life, so this part of the routine is a main sleep cue for her.
- Next, we read 2-3 (okay, sometimes 10) books while rocking in the glider.
- Lastly, I tell her, “you’re going to go night night in your crib now,” get up from the glider walk over to the crib, give her a kiss/hug while saying a short, silent prayer for her, tell her, “mama loves you so much, have a great sleep,” and place her in the crib to drift off.
Although she can fall asleep readily on her own, Taylor does wake up 1-2 times per night. I wanted to include that as encouragement to mamas who feel like they are doing everything they can, but still have a babe who wakes during the night. I am told she may sleep through the night once we are done breastfeeding, but I’m not too worried about it. I’ll count my blessings with a baby who goes to sleep peacefully/independently!
Well, hopefully this post gave you some ideas to create, tweak or add to your baby’s bedtime routine. I would love if you would let me know the routine you create for your babe in the comments below!
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