Once your little one hits about the 6 month mark, they are starting to get to the point where routines can be established for their lifestyle. This includes bedtime, naps, and feeding. We really struggled with this and when we were first getting our little one into a sleep routine. That is why I wanted to put together this post on baby and bedtime routines. It’s not difficult but also not something you really think about for an infant.

We really struggled with infant sleep, and my daughter ended up in bed with us which many doctors say is a no-no. While it worked for us, it can be considered dangerous if conditions are not right. For us, we have a firm bed with the mattress directly on the floor. We have a quilt covering the bed that is tight and only use small blankets. 

That said, bedtime got much easier when we figured out some key components to making sure our little one would go to bed. There are a few key things that helped us. I’ve outlined that in this post below. Whether you co-sleep or not, there are things here that can help you. Co-sleeping is recommended by the AAP until a year, but this doesn’t work for all families, so you need to adapt things to work for you and your baby. Co-sleeping is not bed sharing, but room sharing. 

1. Routine

Keep the bedtime routine as consistent as you can day after day. This will help your little one recognize it is time for bed. If they are aware the expectation is sleep versus play, they are more likely to sleep. Whether your routine be something simple as a diaper change and pajamas, feed, and put down or more extravagant like bath time, read a book, feeding, diaper change and pajamas, then put down, keeping it consistent is key.

sleeping swaddled newborn

2. Try to establish a bed time

This was hard for us because with me not working we didn’t have to get up early everyday and we didn’t necessarily have to go to bed at the same time. We also got into the habit of putting her down when I went to bed because she would sleep on the bed and got into the habit of holding on to someone to stay asleep. This is something that took some work to break being we aren’t big fans of the ‘Cry it Out’ method. 

That said, many sleep training experts recommend a bed time between 6:30 and 8:00 PM. For us, we did about 10:00 PM but she would sleep until between 8:00-9:00 AM, where the 8:00 PM bedtime was to sleep until about 6:00 AM. I believe flexibility helps each family accommodate their needs but make sure your little one goes to bed at a similar time each night. 

3. Make sure they are tired

This was also something we learned the hard way. As baby gets older, plays more, and gets into nap routines, they have what’s called ‘wake windows’. This is the time between their last waking and next nap or bedtime. This will vary based on your baby’s age and number of naps taken, but your child should be tired before you put them down.

One thing that can inhibit this is if you feed right before bed. Don’t let little one fall asleep at the breast or bottle because that short power nap can give baby enough energy to fight bedtime or naps for awhile. You want your little one going to sleep tired, but not over tired. Look for signs that they are tired, such as yawns and rubbing eyes. If they start getting fussy it’s a sign they’re past the tired stage and may make bedtime harder.

4. Give them time to practice new skills

When baby learns a new skill such as rolling over, crawling, pulling up and standing, walking, etc., give them time to practice during the day. If you are putting them to bed and they haven’t gotten a lot of play time during the day, they may use this time to explore in their crib. It’s okay to let them play a little but you want them to learn to sleep when they are in the crib. Giving them time to explore these skills during their wake windows will help them sleep when it’s bedtime. 

5. Keep it dark and stimuli-free

They say to put a mobile above the crib and there are even toys out there that play white noise and turn lights on that you hang in the crib. While these are great to get baby engaged, it’s also likely going to keep baby up. I heard on something posted on Taking Cara Babies Instagram account once that putting stimuli in baby’s room is compared to us picking up our smart phone in the middle of the night and going on Facebook or playing a game. Imagine trying to go back to sleep after you have been looking at your bright phone screen in a dark room. Your brain is busy and you’ve been stimulated by the light. That is a similar idea for baby. 

Related Posts

A Guide to Naps
Giving Baby Medicine Tips and Tricks

This is a short list of ideas to help with getting your little one to go to bed. If you have any comments/questions/suggestions, please let us know in the comments! I’d love to expand on any topics that you may find valuable! Thanks again for reading.


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