How to get your baby into a routineIntroduce a baby sleep routine early on
The younger they are when the schedule is introduced, the better chance you’ll have at creating a baby sleep routine you can all work around. After your baby has reached two months old, you can begin to establish a bedtime routine that is likely to stick – this will help to create a better structure so you can steal a few more winks here and there while they’re napping. Ideas for getting a baby into a routine include:
- Putting their sleep-suit/pyjamas on: they will associate the soft material of their baby clothing with their bedtime routine.
- Breast or bottle feeding just before sleep: avoid as many midnight get-ups as you can by making sure baby goes to bed well fed.
- Bathing your baby before bed: this will help them associate the relaxing feeling of being bathed with bedtime to follow.
Teach them the difference between day and night
Establishing sleep routines for babies can be tough. After all, getting confused between day and night is common for little ones, but there are ways you can help them understand the difference. Here are some steps you can take to kickstart your baby routine and get them used to the difference between day and night:
- Change baby’s clothes in the morning and before bed: they will begin to notice the change and relax or wake in response.
- Control the light in your home to reflect the time of day: babies respond to external cues, like light, so keeping the curtains open and making the room feel brighter will keep your baby active during the day. Come night time, make rooms as dark as possible to teach them when it’s time to sleep.
- Ensure silence: similar to light, babies can be influenced by sounds. Keep your home as quiet as possible when it’s time for getting a baby into a routine.
- Avoid talking to them during night feeds: keep the house lively and chatty during the day, but come night-time feeds let them know that it’s sleep time by maintaining a soothing atmosphere.
Learn your baby’s sleep cues
Learning your baby’s sleeping cues will help you to put them down at the best time for snoozing. Every baby is different, so learning their signs is helpful. Some may yawn, some may cry, some may feel needier for attention – it can take time to figure out what all your baby’s emotions mean, but they can go from tired to over-tired in a matter of minutes. Look out for:
- Decreased activity and being less vocal
- Disinterested in surroundings
- Eyes that begin to look glazed over
- Thumb sucking
Adjust the sleeping routine to suit your baby’s growth and age
Although you may have mastered all the above steps, your baby’s development can change their bedtime routine – so you’ll also need to learn how to get baby into a routine as they grow. There are certain factors that will adapt the way you approach it. As well as nearly tripling their weight, crawling and sitting (and maybe even walking!), baby’s first year is full of milestones. Growth spurts can increase the need for night-time feeds, while the excitement of a newly learned skill may make your little one reluctant to settle at night. On the flip-side, as your baby gets older, they’ll gradually reduce their need for day-time naps, moving towards a sleeping routine that more closely resembles your own. So, naturally, getting baby into a routine may become a little easier. But your baby’s sleep routine will need to adapt to suit these changes – so keep a flexible approach and make small, subtle changes as your little one grows.
And those are our top tips on getting baby into a routine. Looking for more baby sleep tips? Learn how much newborns should sleep and the correct sleeping temperature for babies.