Creating a routine for you and your baby can help you both calm down and know what to expect. Children need structure and it helps your baby understand nighttime from daytime if you can get them on a routine. Your baby will be more relaxed if they are on a routine because they will know what to expect. They will know when it is time for a bath, when it is time to eat, nap, and go to sleep for the night. The more relaxed your baby is, the easier it is for them to fall asleep quickly and the more time you will have to relax and go to sleep. You and your baby will get on a routine together and you and your baby will both get adequate sleep. Stick to your routine as best as you can, even if you are on vacation. Sticking to your routine will help your baby settle down in unfamiliar places and it will make your vacation much easier. Establishing a routine when they are infants will help you with their toddler years. They will grow up knowing that there are set times for napping and set times for eating and bedtime.
You should start establishing a routine with your baby when they are 6 to 8 weeks old. Starting a routine when they are this young can help them get in the habit of sleeping through the night. Babies will appreciate your consistency and predictability. Creating a routine will help you and your baby bond because you will have set times to bathe them, sing to them, read to them, and rock them. A good bedtime routine starts by getting your baby ready for bed early. Start early in the evening so you have enough time to do everything before they fall asleep. Change their diaper and put them into pajamas before bedtime and do simple things with them like reading a story, singing to them, or listening to music in the rocking chair. This is time you need to set aside exclusively for your baby and you need to be consistent. You can take turns with your spouse and have your baby get to know each of you individually. You can also do it as a family and read a story together before the baby goes to sleep. Try to keep their room dim when you are reading a story so it will help the baby understand that when the lights fade, it is time to sleep. The bedtime routine can start in other rooms, but you always need to bring it into their bedroom. Teach your baby that their room is a comfortable environment and it is peaceful for them.
Another way to Create routine for Baby
Another way to create a routine for your baby is to play with them before bedtime. Avoid feeding them and do things that will get their energy out. Getting out all this energy will help them settle down for the night. Do some fun things with your baby like singing with them, bouncing in the bouncer, playing with toys, or doing things that they normally enjoy. After playing with your baby, feed them and take them into their room. Follow up the rowdy behavior with a calm song and a bedtime story. Your baby may fall asleep in your arms while you are reading the story, if they do, just place them in their crib to sleep. It is also important to put your baby to bed at the same time every night, even if they are awake. Let them cry for a few minutes until they learn that this is their bedtime and they need to go to sleep.
Try bathing your baby before bed. The warm water will sooth them and will get them clean and dry before bedtime. Bathing your baby at night is a simple way to help them ease into bedtime. Your spouse can help with bath time as well and it is a simple way for them to feel involved in their baby's life. If you or your partner is breastfeeding, offer to bathe the baby because this allows you to help out and will give your partner a break from always being the one to feed the baby. Some babies like to splash in baths and they get excited for them. If your baby normally wakes up more during a bath, avoid using a bath in your nighttime ritual.
Start teaching your baby good bedtime behavior by brushing their teeth or gums. You can also do other things like washing their face and brushing their hair. Start the habit of brushing your baby's teeth and gums early so they become used to it when they are toddlers. You should always change your baby's diaper before bed and apply diaper ointment if they are prone to diaper rash. Keeping your baby in a dry diaper will help to prevent diaper rash and it will make your baby more comfortable too.
Talk to your child and encourage them to talk to you. Even if your baby just babbles, you should talk to them because it helps to build their vocabulary. The sound of your voice will be soothing and comforting to your baby. Do a simple run down of your child's events and let them talk about the things they learned. If your baby cannot talk, tell your baby about things you did. You can even place your baby in their crib and talk to them; this will help soothe them because they will be comforted by your presence.
You can practice saying "goodnight" to one another. Walk or carry your child into your room and allow them to say goodnight to your spouse and to their other siblings. If you have a family pet, let them say goodnight to them. Getting in the routine of saying goodnight to everyone and anything will help them understand when it is time to go to sleep.
Sit with your baby and read a story together. Hold them in your arms or have them sit next to you and have them point out different things in the book. Over time, your child may pick a favorite book and have you read it to them every night. This is a wonderful bedtime ritual because it shows you that your child understands what bedtime is. Even though you may be tired of the same old stories, it is always exciting for your child. Some parents try reading 2 or 3 different stories to their child at bedtime. Whatever you decide, make sure you are consistent with your bedtime story time.
Since babies are comforted by the sound of their parent's voices, you should sing a song to them at night. Newborn babies love to be held and sung to at night and it is a wonderful routine to start with your baby. Singing a lullaby will help your baby peacefully drift to sleep and the soft melody will soothe them and remind them that they are safe because you are there. You can choose whatever song you like, just make sure you always sing them at the same time each night. Picking one song to sing every night will help your child understand that it is time to go to bed once you have finished the song.
Help Your child to Focus
Some children are afraid of the dark, so be sure to turn on a nightlight for them. Once you have completed your bedtime routine with your baby, turn on the nightlight and let them drift off to sleep. There are several types of nightlights available now and many night lights will project images of animals and stars on the ceiling. This will help your child focus on the objects and slowly drift to sleep.
If your child has trouble sleeping because they hear small creaks or noises, turn on a CD. You can buy a CD of different lullabies or try playing classical music. Even the sound of ocean waves or chirping birds may help your young one fall to sleep easier. Leave the CD on at a low volume and make sure it is at least 30 minutes long. Some children have active brains and it may take them longer to drift to sleep than others. The relaxing music will help them ease into sleep and it sets them on the routine of going from daytime to nighttime.
Some babies enjoy sleeping with their favorite toy or they need a pacifier to sleep with. Toys are not recommended for children because they can suffocate. If your child falls to sleep with a toy, wait until they are sound asleep and remove it from their crib. Pacifiers often help to soothe babies and their reflex to suck. Try giving your baby a pacifier at night and only give it to them for naptime or nighttime. This will let them know that they only get the pacifier when it is time to sleep. You can also feed your baby before bedtime, having a full stomach will help them sleep better and eventually they will stop waking up for nighttime feedings. If your child is still waking up in the middle of the night to eat, you need to slowly teach them that they need to sleep. Start by letting them cry for 5 minutes before you feed them, the next time, let them cry for 20 minutes. This process may take a week or more, but eventually your baby will understand that they need to sleep. Some babies will wake up in the night and fuss for a few minutes before they put themselves back to sleep. Allow your baby to learn with your help and talk to your baby's pediatrician if you have any concerns.