One of the biggest challenges that you will face when you’re a first-time parent (or even when you’re an experienced parent, to be honest) is putting a newborn baby to sleep.
Newborn babies actually sleep a lot. In fact, they spend most of the day — up to 17 hours per day — sleeping! This is because newborn babies need to do a lot of growing and developing, and sleeping is essential for these things.
You might say you don’t think your newborn baby is sleeping that much and that’s because they are sleeping intermittently. They don’t follow a sleep schedule the way adults do because their biological clocks have not matured yet. In other words, you need to gently encourage your baby to sleep better by creating a bedtime routine for them.
The Importance of a Baby Bedtime Routine
Having a bedtime routine for your newborn baby results in tremendous long-lasting benefits. The importance of a baby bedtime routine includes the improvement of your baby’s quality of sleep. Having a routine soothes your baby, making them feel calm and relaxed, which results in a more restful sleep.
The components of a good baby bedtime routine have also been found to affect a newborn baby’s growth and development. For example, bathing and massage stimulates your baby’s tactile senses. Reading bedtime stories aids in the development of their literacy skills.
And just having a consistent and regular schedule helps your baby adapt to their environment more easily, helping them grow into socially mature and well-behaved individuals. Finally, you get to bond as a family during bedtime! A bedtime routine is a wonderful way to spend meaningful time with your newborn baby.
If you need help on creating a baby bedtime routine that fits your family, consider this simple guideline that we have prepared for you.
Things to Consider for Baby’s Bedtime
Before you create your bedtime routine, make sure that you are already following a consistent schedule at home. This includes your own routine as adults. This means that if your schedule is about to change, like if you are about to go back to work, then wait until the new schedule has taken effect before you create a routine.
The next thing you need to do is to make sure that your baby has a safe sleep zone. Whether it’s in their nursery or in your own bed, their sleeping area needs to be free of anything that can block their breathing. Check this article for the guidelines you can follow to create baby’s safe sleep zone.
Finally, you should decide on a specific bedtime that you commit to follow every day. Your baby’s bedtime shouldn’t be too early that it’s too close to their afternoon naptime. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be too late either as that can cause your baby to get overstimulated. It’s best to schedule your baby’s bedtime right around their usual nightly feeding.
If no big changes affecting your schedule are about to happen, if your baby has a safe sleep zone, and if you have already decided on a consistent bedtime, then you can go about creating your baby’s bedtime routine. Here’s a simple bedtime routine that you can copy to help improve your newborn baby’s sleep habits!
A Simple Bedtime Routine for Your Newborn Baby
1. Bath time
About an hour before your baby’s bedtime, give them a relaxing bath. Make sure that the temperature of the water is ideal, not too hot and not too cold. Don’t forget to use a fluffy cotton hooded towel to keep your baby warm after their bath.
2. Baby massage
Soon after baby’s bath time comes massage time. Before you change your baby into clean diapers and comfy pajamas, give them a massage using a baby-friendly lotion. It will not only serve as a bonding moment between you two but also stimulate your baby’s tactile awareness.
About 30 minutes before your baby’s bedtime, you can feed your baby for the night. Whether it’s through your breast or through a bottle, the main goal is to make sure your baby is full and calm before you put them down to sleep.
4. Swaddling and snuggling
After feeding, burp your baby and gently snuggle with them. If you swaddle your baby, you can swaddle your baby at this point as your baby is already full and feeling relaxed. You can rock your baby but only until they are drowsy instead of fast asleep.
This is also the perfect time to read bedtime stories and bond as a family.
5. Laying down, drowsy but not quite asleep
Finally, when your baby is already drowsy, you should put them down in their crib or on your bed. Don’t wait until they are fast asleep as doing so may hinder your baby from learning how to self-soothe and fall asleep by themselves.
Remember: never put your newborn baby on their stomach when they sleep. Always lay them down on their backs!
Once your baby is asleep, keep the lights inside their room dim and relaxing. It will also help to put on a noise machine to drown out any background noise or a musical mobile that will play soothing, classical music.
It may seem like creating — and maintaining, most especially — a bedtime routine for your newborn baby is a lot of work. And in some ways, yes, it can be a tedious task as it requires you to arrange your schedule to accommodate the whole process of teaching your baby the right sleeping habits.
Then again, having a sound baby bedtime routine results in numerous, lifelong benefits that impact not only your baby but also your whole family.