In the parenting world, finding a sleep routine that works and that allows both baby (and parents) to get quality, consistent sleep is considered the holy grail. Everybody seems to have their own tricks and opinions on what works and what doesn't.
Sorting through that advice and seeing what works for your family can be a lot of work. That’s why simple can be better when starting out a routine. Having a few consistent steps you can rely on is a great start to expand on or adjust to fit to your family needs.
Read on for why you may want to take the time to develop a good bedtime routine, as well as a list of essential steps that will help you create yours.
Bedtime routines are key because they reinforce your baby's natural circadian rhythm and help teach them the difference between night and day. A regular bedtime ritual creates a sense of comfort for a baby that is especially helpful during difficult sleep periods, including sleep regression and sleep training. Your baby’s ability to sleep through the night can be aided by a solid bedtime routine.
Babies sleep much better when their tummies are full. If your baby gets sleepy right after a nighttime feeding, you may choose to give your baby a bath or gentle massage beforehand. Just remember, based on their age, they may not need a bath every night. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends not bathing newborns nightly because of their sensitive skin.
Many parents find it helps their little one to wind down when they have a ritual of a book or song time before bed. This time of reduced stimulation can help them to calm down before bed. You can help them prepare for sleep by turning down the lights and cuddling with your little one during a song or story.
Swaddling is an excellent way to get your baby feeling soothed and comfortable to better doze off. Swaddling has many benefits, including helping your baby to sleep longer and better, and preventing unnecessary wakeups caused by the startle reflex.
When your baby has aged out of a swaddle and is ready for a swaddle transition, a Magic Sleepsuit can provide them with all of the benefits of a swaddle and allow you to keep this part of your bedtime routine consistent.
Parents frequently swear by a quality white noise machine to help their little one sleep soundly. Infants find white noise soothing because they are used to the muffled sounds of a noisy uterus. It can also help keep them from waking up from other outside noises. Place your baby in their crib and turn on their noise machine or lullabies. And finally, it's time to...
Once you’ve completed the bedtime routine steps and have said goodnight, make your exit. If you have a habit of lingering, your baby may stay awake longer, and they might become dependent on you being there to help them up until the moment they fall asleep. This can make it difficult for them to develop the independent sleep skills they need to learn to go back to sleep with nighttime wakeups.
These baby bedtime routine basics are meant to help you start out. On your way to finding the perfect routine, you may have to make some tweaks and changes. As your baby grows, you’ll need to make changes that fit with their new stages. But as you work to develop and stay consistent in your baby’s bedtime routine, you’ll reap the benefits. Just remember, consistency breeds comfort, which enables your baby (and you) to have better sleep.
Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit and Dream Sack products are designed to help your baby have a good night’s sleep. Take a look at our full sleep system and get the benefits of swaddled sleep today.