Mother and Baby

How to get your baby into a bedtime routine

Save yourself some sleepless nights with these handy tips for a slick bedroom routine in our short video...

Sleep expert Andrea Grace says: What a really good bedtime actually consists of is just a series of steps leading up to bedtime that are repeated so it’s a kind of sequence really that your baby becomes to recognise and it makes them feel very sleepy and actually very safe.

Mum 1: So as far as the bedtime routine goes, we try as much as possible to make it the same every day. I think routine is essential in getting them settled and making them feel comfortable and relaxed, so it’s not a shock which happens, they always know what is going to happen the next day.

Kathryn Blundell, Mother&Baby editor says: For the first six weeks that your baby is out of the womb there is no point trying to impose any kind of routine or plan onto your baby, she’s just getting used to being out in the world and what that feels like and she can’t even tell the difference between day or night. But beyond that age you can start doing small things that might encourage your baby a) to learn the difference between day and night which is really important but also give her a set of clues that sleep is coming because actually in time if you build on those, those clues help her feel sleepy which is what we want.

Mum 1: I always sit by her cot when I give her a bottle, the last one before bed. Generally about ten past seven I give her the bottle. After she’s finished the bottle I’ll make sure she’s fully winded and put her down and sing her her favourite song ‘Feed the Birds’ from Mary Poppins. So she goes in her sleeping bag so she doesn’t kick the covers off and get cold in the night and I literally put my head right up to the cot, not looking at her, so she can sort of see my hair and she’ll babble away for a good five minutes and then that’s it, she’s out for the night.

Ruth, Aptimal Pregnancy Advisor says: It’s always a good idea to make babies familiar with their cribs, let them spend time in it during the day is important as well. Some babies might feel insecure that you’re changing their environment very quickly and that makes them feel that you’re not there, so therefore they become unsettled and they cry because they feel as though they’ve been abandoned.

Andrea says: It’s quite important not to let your baby have the final sleep prompt as being the feed. Because babies have a tendency when they’re tired to fall asleep over their milk and if they do that then they have no sense of awareness of being put down in their cot and that means when they wake up later during the light phase of the sleep cycle they feel alarmed, like ‘how did I get there’.

Mum 2: Her bedtime’s usually around half six, seven o’clock. So usually around that time I like to give her a bath beforehand just to wind down for the end of the day. And so she knows when she’s having a bath that it’s coming up to milk time, sleep time, lights out at the end of the day. Andrea: So it’s always good to do bath, a little play, feed, then story, then into the cot awake but tired so they can sleep hopefully for the night.

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