Does your Baby Need a Bedtime Routine?
A baby’s sleep in the first year can be tricky as you try to master the ins and outs of sleep routines, naps, wake windows, feeding schedules, tummy time, and so much more! We’re going to admit it - there are A LOT of variables because your bubs is going through so many developmental changes that can affect their sleep. You might be wondering, “if there are so many variables, do I really need a bedtime routine?”. We’re here to dive a little further into bedtime routines and how you can establish a solid bedtime routine to support your bubs to sleep in the first year.
Do babies need a bedtime routine?
While it can seem challenging to navigate your baby’s sleep in the first year, we believe that establishing a solid bedtime routine can help create healthy sleep habits. Babies are born with a natural circadian rhythm and can’t tell the difference between day and night. Often, they get this mixed up in the beginning! A bedtime routine can help signal to their brains that it’s bedtime and help them fall asleep better. It becomes predictable and will provide a sense of comfort.
Over time, bedtime can become something your bubs look forward to and a time they look forward to at the end of the day. As your baby grows older and goes through separation anxiety, bedtime can be scary because it’ll mean a time of separation - maybe even the longest time apart from their caregivers/parents. That’s when a bedtime routine can be especially helpful because it can become a time for them to connect and bond with you. This time can be one of the most comforting and memorable times of the day when you spend quality, one-on-one time with them.
What’s the ideal baby bedtime routine?
Every family’s bedtime routine can look very different because what works for one may not for the other. Sometimes, both parents are involved while other times, one parent may take on the part of the routine and another take another part.
For a newborn baby, a simple bedtime routine may be:
- Take a bath
- Apply lotion
- Put on diaper
- Put on PJs or a onesie
- Wrap your bubs up in a swaddle sleep bag
- Sing a song
- Feeding time
- Turn on the sound machine
- Good night
- Lights out
Keep in mind that parts of this routine may not be possible everyday like taking a bath for them everyday. Did you know that it is recommended to bathe your newborn baby only 3 times a week? This is because bathing can dry their skin out.
How to establish a bedtime routine for your baby
We understand there’s a lot going on as you navigate this new journey as a parent. Whether you’re a parent of one, two, or more - every experience is new and can have its own challenges. Adding a bedtime routine can feel daunting. Whenever we start something new, we like to start with baby steps and recommend the same to you. If you’re feeling nervous about starting a bedtime routine, choose one or two things that seem doable to you and your family and start there. Trust us when we say it because you’ve got this!
The importance of baby sleepwear for a good bedtime routine
If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night sweating or felt too cold, you probably remember how uncomfortable it was too. Newborn babies are different from adults because they can’t regulate their temperatures well. That’s where TOG ratings can make a difference in how well your baby sleeps.
TOG or Thermal Overall Grade rating is a unit of measurement that tells you how thick or warm your baby’s wearable blanket is. The higher the TOG rating, the warmer it will be for your baby. Finding the right TOG involves many factors like your nursery’s room temperature, the clothes your baby wears to sleep, and the materials the sleep sack is made from.
To learn more, read our Ultimate TOG Chart for Newborns guide here.
Sleep Like a Baby
Bedtime doesn’t need to feel daunting! Making your bedtime routine a time for you and your bubs to connect can help both of you wind down from the day. Take it one step at a time and over time, as it feels easier, you can add anything that works for you and your family. Remember, you’ve got this!