Bedtime Routine for Baby

Always remember that babies and children are unique and have different sleep, rest and relaxation needs so it is very important to factor this in when trying to build healthy routines.

Baby awake

Why a routine?

Routines for older babies (four months onwards) can be helpful and let your bub know it’s sleep time. Starting with feed, quiet play nappy change, cuddle, then placing your child when drowsy in the cot is best. We recommend a hands-on settling technique for an upset child. Never leave a crying child.Stay with them so they know that they are safe and help support them to sleep.

Our Chief Midwife Jane Wiggill says

“Using the same routine for all sleep (day and night) helps the child understand that the time for being awake is over, and it’s sleep time. Patterns help this but each little one is different and parents and caregivers come up with lots of unique ways to get their little ones off to the land of nod.”

A standard pattern is

  • Feed
  • Quiet play (gentle book reading)
  • Nappy change
  • Cuddle
  • Then place the baby in their own cot (adorned with the brand new supercute Bonds cot sheets (pictured) when they are drowsy.

Some families incorporate things, like lowering curtains, singing the same song, or playing white noise. It can be something obvious that helps trigger in your little one that it is sleep time. Find what works for you and your family.

Overtired babies are harder to get to sleep, so to aid you with finding that sweet spot for bedtime keep an eye out for the following signs and act fast to pop them into bed

Up to four months

Early tired signs include:

  • an inability to maintain eye contact or attention as well as earlier in the playtime,
  • red eyes
  • or clenched fists.

Four to 8 months:

Early tired signs include:

  • Grizzly
  • Jerky movements
  • Staring into space
  • Pale face/ red eyebrows
  • Hyperactivity
  • Crying

Follow the above steps and remember that toys and comfort items may be helpful for older babies, but for babies, we do not recommend a soft toy in the cot as it can pose a risk to the baby’s airway if it accidentally covers your baby’s face. Settling babies with soft toys under supervision is fine but these toys must be removed for safe sleep.

Good sleep habits created earlier may help settle your child as they age. But remember, some days will go as planned, but others can sometimes feel like you’re in a battle with your bub. Don’t stress. There could be so many reasons your bub is fighting sleep and is harder to get down. Just try again next time!

No matter what you are doing, make sure you follow our Safe Sleep Recommendations when putting baby to sleep and know you are doing a brilliant job, and you’ve got this!

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Last modified: 18/10/23