You probably already know that following a sleep schedule/routine with your baby is a good idea. That why you are here right? To find out the best ways to create that knockout routine that will send them off to sleep quickly and easily every night?
Just follow our guide and you will soon be the envy of your mama friends... with at that sleep you soon will be getting.
A Bedtime routine that helps your baby sleep
What makes the best sleep routine
Many people will tell you the things that they think are the best to include in a sleep schedule. But it's not a one size fits all sort of thing.
The best sleep routine is one that gets you are your baby the most amount of sleep with the least amount of stress. The best routine is one that you can stick to... not some crazy routine with so many things you have to do... Moms are busy enough already right?
So don't worry about the haters, make your own routine that suits you and your bub.
What to include in a nighttime routine
The national sleep foundation sleep experts say
"The repetitive nature of a parent’s exact actions before bed is the important part. It doesn’t matter that there’s no massage or books. What matters is that we create a reliable set of steps before bed that cue her brain and body that it’s time to sleep. You could stand on your head as the first step in your bedtime routine, as long as you do it every night."
So if we are to believe these sleep 'experts' then it's not so much the steps of your routine but the consistency of it which matters.
However, certain things are definitely going to help your bub get to sleep faster and easier.
Here are the things most commonly included in newborn sleep routines
- Bath or shower
- Change diaper
- Turn the lights off
- Play music
- Put on pajamas
- Read a book
- Sing a song
- Put down to sleep
- Swaddle baby
- Turn on white noise
What to avoid in a sleep routine
It's all good to know what to include in a sleep schedule. But how about what to avoid?
It might seem pretty self explanatory but there are a few hidden traps that many parents fall victim of.
- Avoid loud noises
- Keep the lighting low
- Finish play time early
- Pack away toys and other distractions
- Don't pick up crying baby immediately. (or this might become routine)
- Don't start a routine away from home
- Keep baby's sleeping spot the same
When should I start a bedtime routine with my baby
Some mothers are wayyy over the top and want to create a routine for their baby immediately. But after birth, which could go on for hours a or even days. You are going to be wrecked. So just chill a little and try to relax.
But lets be real. After that first baby, that first birth. As moms, we never really 'recover'. It's pretty full on and exhausting from here on babe.
How to create a sleep routine - The "Sevens Method"
1. Identify your baby's natural bedtime
The best way I've found to create a routine is to start planning with your baby asleep and work backwards.
My baby goes to sleep at 7:30 pm. So I start my routine planning from 7:30 and work backwards.
2. Find out what settles your baby the best
All babies respond differently to settling techniques. So try a few out on your bubba, see what she likes and write them down.
What I have found works best for my baby is rocking, quietly singing to him and turning on some white noise. He also enjoys a gentle massage before he goes to sleep. (must be my kid)
3. List baby tasks to complete
Write down all the extra tasks that you need to do before bed
Feed, bath, clean diaper etc.
4. Figure out the time required
Now you're going to have to do some guesswork.
Try estimate how long each task will take to complete and write it next to the task.
Feeding - 20 minutes
Bath - 10 minutes
Changing baby's diaper - 5 minutes.
Singing to baby - 5 minutes
Put on pajamas - 5 minutes
5. Put everything into order
Now write down the order you want to do each task in, try start with the more active things first.
3) Put on clean diaper
4) Put on pajamas
5) Turn lights down/out
8) Turn on white noise
9) Put baby down to sleep
6. Add it all up
Working backwards from your baby's sleep time write down each task and the time next to it for when it needs to be started. Complete it for all the tasks and your routine is finished.
1) Feed.6:20 pm
2) Bath. 6:40 pm
3) Put on clean diaper. 6:50 pm
4) Put on pajamas. 6:55 pm
5) Reading. 7 pm
6) Turn lights down/out. 7:20 pm
7) Swaddle. 7:20 pm
8) Singing. 7:25 pm
9) Turn on white noise. 7:30 pm
10) Put baby down to sleep. 7:30 pm
7. Make the routine stick
Now you have a good solid sleep routine for your baby. This example routine is just over an hour long, but it is full of things that you normally have to do for your baby anyway. The beauty of this is keeping these things in a well thought out order will get your baby into the routine and learn when to fall asleep.
We know that consistency is the key to a sleep routine, and the best way to keep it consistent is by keeping your routine in view.
You can either stick up your written out routine somewhere for you to look at or get our Knockout Sleep Routine cards, print them off and use them.
How do I get my baby into routine
- Complete your sleep routine plan. Don't just wing it
- Use a shortened version of the routine for day naps, this will help baby learn faster and will help with falling asleep for day naps.
- Trial and error will help you find out what your baby responds to the best
- Make sure you keep your baby sleeping in the same place
- Keep it consistent - Print out or write up your plan and stick it somewhere you can see it. Or get our printable routine cards and use them for the perfect routine.