Having a sleep routine is essential when trying to teach your baby healthy sleep habits, especially if you’re trying to teach your baby to put himself to sleep at night. A consistent bed time routine will help signal to your baby that it is time to wind down and go to sleep. Falling to sleep, although natural, is a learned behavior. Your baby relies on your cues to learn and know when it’s time to sleep for the night. Creating a sleep routine is an easy and great way to help your baby learn healthy sleep habits.
First and foremost, the key to a successful sleep routine is consistency! If you want to avoid giving your baby mixed messages, you will need to do the same routine every night at the same time. Typically a healthy bed time for infants is between 7 and 8 pm, but you may have to follow your baby’s cues at first to choose the best time. If you remain consistent in the routine and time, your baby will learn to associate the bed time routine with sleep. Simply doing the routine will help baby unwind enough so that when placed in the crib, they will fall asleep on their own.
So what does the routine consist of? Here’s the good part: whatever you decide! Keep in mind that you will want to do activities that will help your baby relax for the night and that will take between 15 to 30 minutes to complete, depending on what you decide. My baby’s routine starts at about 7:30 each night. I change him into his pajamas and then feed him. I never let him fall asleep while feeding him because I want to lay him in his crib awake so he can put himself to sleep. After being fed, I read at least two books to him. I read in almost a whisper to help him relax. When we are done with the books, I say a quick prayer, lay him in his crib with his pacifier and blanket, turn out the light and walk out. He then goes to sleep on his own after the routine.
Here is a list of activities for you to choose from for your baby’s bedtime routine:
- A bubble bath
- Baby massage
- Change into pajamas
- Listen to quiet music
- Sing a song
- Play quietly
- Cuddle in a rocking chair
Feel free to try different activities as well, just remember that they should be something that helps calm your baby. Also, it may help to keep the light dim in the nursery during the routine and to always speak in a quiet, calm voice.
Creating a bedtime routine is a great tool to use for your baby’s sleep habits. Your baby will learn quickly to follow the cues you are giving and prepare their body for rest. For more information about baby’s sleep habits, read about how to get your baby to fall asleep on their own.
Do you have any tips for creating a successful sleep routine for baby?
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