How to Establish a Bedtime Routine for Your Baby
Thank you Baby Dove for sponsoring this post.
Life with a new baby typically means learning to adapt to your baby’s needs to eat, sleep, and play. While newborn life is much different than that of a 6-month-old, sleep for both the parent and baby does go through its fair share of ups and downs. I will say that it does get easier, especially if you can create a calming bedtime routine for your baby. Establishing patterns in your baby’s day allows them to adapt to the situation and grow accustomed to what follows. From bathtime to a final bedtime story, see which tips and routinely worked for us in solidifying a tried and true bedtime routine.
How to Set a “Realistic” Schedule
Your bedtime routine will largely be based on your baby’s daily nap schedule. Some babies nap longer during the daytime while others may be only going down for 30 minutes during each sleep session. While this will vary from baby to baby, creating a realistic schedule based on your child’s own current routine will be most helpful. While this isn’t a post on how to sleep train, you may want to look into this if you find yourself having trouble setting a schedule and having your little one sleep through the night.
At 6-months, our routine begins around 6:30 pm where she is changed and fed, followed by an hour or so of playtime. After about 2-2 ½ hours of wake time we start winding down for naptime. Having a nap schedule that somewhat mirrors our bedtime routine helps her wind down and get her body ready for sleep.
Create a Calming Bath Time
We’re lucky to have a little one who thoroughly enjoys her baths. Even from the newborn stages, Evie would smile when we set her down in the tub. I think having this positive association with bathtime has helped us incorporate it seamlessly into her bedtime routine. While she sometimes splashes and watches the water, bath time is meant to relax her. Baby Dove’s new Calming Nights range of products further helps us create this relaxing environment thanks to its calming scent of warm milk and chamomile. We’ve always been very selective about which products we purchase and use on her skin, and always make sure to use formulas that are gentle on the skin while also being dermatologist and pediatrician tested.
Baby Dove’s Calming Nights Tip to Toe Wash is made with 100% skin-natural nutrients that are identical to those found naturally in the skin. Since incorporating these products into our routine we’ve noticed a huge change in the texture of Evie’s skin, especially in sensitive areas like her hands and feet.
Keep your Routine Streamlined and Consistent!
After bathing our little one we immediately go into her room to dry, apply lotion and change into her onesie. We keep this routine from bath-bed VERY consistent. We found that when we’d take her into the living room or out of her bedroom she’d have issues with sleep or become tuned into the things around her. Once her skin is dry and her hair is brushed, I follow up with a massage using Baby Dove’s Calming Nights Baby Lotion. I find that following up bathtime with this mild and caring formula helps lock in moisture while leaving her skin feeling soft and delicately scented. The act of massaging also helps relax her, further helping her to unwind for the night. We could tell it helped soothe her from the first use! At this point, we’ll turn off the lights (a night light will turn on) followed by her sound machine.
Storytime and a final goodnight song
We’ve made a point to read Evie's two stories prior to bedtime. We’ll start with a random book and either rock her and read by her bedside, and finish with a second story that we sing to her every night. This song is strictly used at bedtime and helps keep the association of sleep aligned with the song. Familiarizing your baby with a song or story at bedtime not only helps them relax but also gets them into a routine to fall asleep.
Do you have any sleep tips that have been successful for you? Share them in the comments below!