On average, a newborn baby will spend 16 of every 24 hours asleep. But, at this young stage, they have zero concept of night and day! So, establishing a bedtime routine as early as possible can really help your baby’s sleeping pattern down the line.
Day time v Nighttime Sleeping
During the day time, it’s good to immerse your baby in the hustle and bustle of your normal family life – it’s highly beneficial to you all if your little one can sleep through the noise. However, try not to stimulate them too much at night. Keep your voice low, make minimal eye contact and give them their night feed in a quiet place with low lighting.
If your baby is over-tired, they will find it difficult to settle at bedtime, so napping through the day is important. (You’ll also get a little downtime too.) Learn your baby’s sleep signals – this could be rubbing their eyes, yawning, crying or going quiet. Respond to these by putting them down for a nap. Within a month or so, you’ll probably have a recognised napping pattern.
Routine is a key factor in developing healthy sleeping habits. Certain things that happen every night, with the result being your baby drifting off, will teach them the simple message that it’s time to go to sleep. You decide how you want to approach your own baby’s bedtime routine – just keep the aim of doing the same things, again and again, so they associate these things with sleep. Here are some ideas:
- A nice warm bath followed by a snuggly towel.
- Brush their teeth. If they don’t have any yet, you can gently brush your baby’s gums to get them used to it.
- Dim the lights. Soothing lighting for storytime, followed by complete darkness is good.
- Cuddle time. Snuggling your baby is important to help build strong emotional bonds and release happy hormones in their brain – not that you need an excuse!
- Lay your baby comfortably in their Moses basket or cot.
- Read them a story to help lull them into sleep.
- Lights out.
Of course, you don’t have to do all of these things! But whatever you choose to do, it may take a while, so start your routine an hour or so before you ideally want your little one to be asleep.
When your child is older, it may be slightly trickier to get them used to a routine, but it’s by no means impossible. So don’t feel you’ve missed the boat if you’ve not established one yet.