A Bedtime Routine for Baby

in Everyday Learning

sleeping babyIt’s bedtime. After pajamas and bottle, daddy gently rocks his baby girl and sings softly “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” He reads aloud a bedtime story slowly, swinging his voice up and down as he reads.

To finish the bedtime routine, daddy carries his little one around the nursery saying, “Good night books, good night crib, good night lamp, good night teddy bear, good night lovey, and good night blanket.” Then lays baby in the crib and says, “Shhh, it’s night-night time, close your eyes sleepy girl. Goodnight. I love you.”

It often takes a child 5-6 months to sort out daytime and nighttime. Sometimes, when a little one takes two naps a day, she views her nighttime as nap time.  Develop a specific bedtime routine that cues your baby it is nighttime sleep.

In her book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution, Elizabeth Pantley says, “A baby’s biological clock (her sleep-wake cycles) begins maturing at 6 to 9 weeks of age and does not work smoothly until 4 to 5 months. As she matures, so does her sleep cycle; attaining sleep maturity is a biological process.”

Suggestions for an established, predictable nighttime routine

  • Use a routine different from naptime
  • Keep the nursery dark and quiet in contrast to light in the room at naptime
  • Try a bath before bedtime
  • Use specific words, songs, rhymes, and stories unique to bedtime
  • Lay your baby down drowsy so she puts herself to sleep

Use the same routine every night, Repeat, repeat, repeat! Nighttime associations and a loving routine teach your baby to fall asleep on her own and stay asleep until morning.

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