Ashley Andrew, The Mama Coach- Simi Valley, Ca
April 17, 2021
I’m going to share with you my top easy baby bedtime ideas that you can start implementing at any age from newborn all the way to toddlerhood!
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First, Why a Bedtime Routine?
Let’s chat for a sec on why we should even have a bedtime routine in the first place! Not only have studies shown a consistent bedtime routine to improve a child’s sleep, including falling asleep faster and staying asleep longer, it was also shown to significantly improve maternal mood! Check out the full study here, but doesn’t that sound like a win-win situation for everyone?
Newborn Bedtime Routine
In a baby’s first 12 weeks of life, your little one not only is not producing their own melatonin (hormone that signals sleep), but they are adjusting to their new world outside the womb. Implementing a bedtime routine in this stage can begin from the first night you come home from the hospital; however don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Begin anytime between 1-6 weeks once you are feeling settled and ready! At this young age just remember to keep it simple and consistent.
3-6 Month Old Bedtime Routine
Now that your baby is out of the newborn phase we can make a few changes to the bedtime routine that can really help them begin to sleep longer stretches at night. The biggest shift will be bumping your baby’s feed to the beginning of the routine! This will help them have an effective feed (staying awake), have a full belly, and have them falling asleep in their sleep space versus during the feed.
6-12 Month Old Bedtime Routine
Now between 6-9 months old, babies tend to drop their third nap and begin tolerating longer awake times. So the big difference in this here is you may need to temporarily bump up the bedtime routine until they have fully adjusted to 2 naps. A bedtime as early as 6pm is common and they gradually will be able to push that back as they grow. We still want to keep their milk feeding at the beginning of the routine still here as well.
12-18 Month Old Bedtime Routine
In this stage we begin to replace a milk feed with a bedtime snack. This can be a healthy snack with a sippy cup or if you are continuing to breastfeed you can keep the feeding at the beginning of the routine still. By now, your young toddler will likely have adjusted to longer awake windows and a bedtime of 7-7:30 pm tends to be a good starting point. Each child is different though, so it’s always best to find your particular child’s sweet spot.
The big takeaway here is consistency! No matter what you decide for your bedtime routine will be, make sure to keep it the same from night to night.
Curious why I always suggest a bath in my bedtime routines? Check out my Instagram Reel that explains the science behind it, here.
I would love to hear what works in your bedtime routine! Please share in the comments below your favorite bedtime activites.